Lie flat on the floor, now lift your head and shoulders off the ground a little (essentially, do a mini crunch). Does your belly bulge upwards (see pic below) or stay flat(ish).
If there's a bulge, you're probably not recruiting the right muscles for the job and your belly is likely to remain 'poochy' no matter how many abs exercises you do (perhaps even because of how many ab exercises you do!).
Because core strength starts with conscious connection.
Connection to the breath,
To the deep abdominal muscles
To your pelvic floor, your glutes, your back, your hips.
Connection to your own body, basically.
And it's so exciting when you learn to feel things 'firing up' in a better way. Not simply because of the aesthetics, I know we women always aspire to a flatter tummy but lets face it, that's not really all that important in the grand scheme of things.
But recruiting the deep core muscles effectively can also mean;
✓less lower back pain,
✓less leaking of the pelvic floor (no more sneeze wees)
✓ better posture
✓ fewer aches and pains
✓ more FREEDOM!
and yes, less of a pooch.
And it all starts with connection.
So try this.
Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor close to your bum, knees bent.
Close your eyes to help tune your senses inwards (but read this first, obviously).
Exhale your lower ribs down towards the earth beneath you allwong your lower back to gently press into the floor.
Place your fingertips on your hips bones (connect) then imagine you're traying to draw your hips bones towards eachother in the centre of your belly.
Do the same for your lower ribs. You should feel the deeb abdominal muscles gently contract.
Now lift your head and shoulders off the floor. Is the bulge a little flatter (see pic below)?
Great! This is the starting point from which you want to begin your core strength training (and I don't mean crunches, read more about diastasis & core training and have a go at some moves here) - or any strength training for that matter. And don't worry if you're still not getting it, it takes practice and patience.
Till then, wishing you Health & Happiness.
PS want to know how to improve your core strength even while watching TV? Check out this blog post here.