December 23, 2013

Trick for Nearly Instant Flat Abs: Balloons?

Don't worry, that's not a "before" and "after" pic.
image: wikipedia

So when I was online digging up various sorts of strangeness for the Weirdest Weight Loss post, I came across a "Daftest Diet" article from the Daily Mail. It included a tip from the book "Six Weeks to OMG: Get Skinnier than All Your Friends," which sounds, overall, highly annoying.

But a tip it offered seemed intriguing: it's a simple way to engage and strengthen the transversus abdominis muscles.

As you are probably aware, your transverse abs are the handy muscles deep inside that pull your belly in, and probably do other important things too but whatever. The TVA's often get overlooked in favor of the better known rectus abdominis, which people work to death in search of those elusive six packs (that would be more easily obtained by abstaining from a few more six packs, but that's a whole 'nother topic).

Have you ever looked in a mirror, sucked in your stomach, and instantly felt like you dropped 5 lbs around your midsection? That's the effect I wouldn't mind 24/7, or at least during waking hours.  Is that too much to ask?

The simple trick? Blow up a balloon! Over and over and over!


An interesting experiment--wanna hear how it went?


But first off, the instructions!

To plagiarize er, I mean paraphrase the Daily Mail:

1. Purchase a pack of mixed balloons (some easy to blow up and some more challenging pretty much f--cking impossible).

2. Start with an easy balloon and stand in front of a mirror ideally just before bedtime — when lung capacity is at its peak whenever the hell you can remember to.

3. Hold your elbows up level with your face as you inflate the balloon... and be sure to take a moment while staring at your reflection to realize you look like an absolute dorkbasket.

4. Once your balloon is blown up, let the air escape, and repeat ten times. Try not to care that balloons, while rapidly deflating, sound exactly like loud wet farts, and that these noises are completely audible to your next door neighbors if you have your windows open.

5.  Take a three-minute break if you start to feel dizzy. Unless you're in search of a cheap legal high, in which case repeat 300 or so more times or until you pass out.

6. Blow up balloons on alternate days (using a new balloon each day), adding two more inflations each time until you reach 20. Then it's 20 inflations every other day to keep your belly flat. Calculate how many balloons you will be inflating in your lifetime, call your broker, and purchase stock in a balloon company.

Important Health Warning! Not suitable for people with high blood pressure, hernias, stomach ulcers or lower back problems.  And I ain't even gonna mess with this one because I don't want you to hurt yourselves.


Crabby McSlacker's Great Balloon Inflation Experiment Findings!

1.  It's hard to find normal balloons at the drugstore these days.

WTF?  Who doesn't love balloons?

Racey Helps photo: in Pastel

But people are all buying the tacky mylar kind now apparently. It took me three drugstores.

2.  I didn't feel it in my abs when I inflated, I felt it in my nose.

So I couldn't even find this problem on the google, but then what freakish search terms might lead me to find out why my throat-to-nose gateway muscles, whatever those might be, couldn't handle the pressure very well?

Because when  I'd try to blow up a new tight balloon, a good part of the air meant for the balloon went back into my nose, making a humiliating honking sound.  That just didn't seem right.  But what I should do about that? Continue trying to build up those mysterious nasal protective muscles? Or just hold my nose for the first few breaths and not worry about it? And does this mean I'm going to be a big time snore monster when I get a little older? If so, it would be worth blowing up a few balloons for preventative purposes.


Any nasal physical therapists out there?

3.  But the next day I felt it a little in my abs!

Which did seem to help me remember to engage my tva's a little more (at least until later in the day when the reminder effect wore off). I suspect working up to twenty inflations with a really hard balloon might actually accomplish a noticeable decrease in apparent waistline bulkage.

But I'm just guessin' cause...

4.  Blowing Up a Balloon Even Ten Times Is Time Consuming And Boring, And The Chances of Me Working up to Twenty and then Keeping it Up for the Rest of My Freakin' Life?  Pretty Much Zero.

Shoot me now.

Or okay, now would be good.

5. There are other, possibly less tedious, methods for exercising the Transversus Abdominis Muscles!

And yet I'm not going to list them all here... yet.  But stay tuned because I'm already psyched for the next TVA experiment, which I will report on Soon!  Er, Before too Long!  Or okay, Someday!

P.S. And in other news, Team Cranky seems to be coming together nicely! I'm so psyched about it all that I started a long boring post over the weekend which got out of control, as often happens when my brain is buzzing with excitement.  I'm sure the 83 cups of coffee I drank had nothing to do with it.  When I calm down I will start over and try to write something more sensible.  In the meantime...

Balloons? Flatter bellies? Weird tricks culled from annoying diet books?  Holiday plans? Comments on anything, as always, are most welcome!

38 comments:

  1. I love the term "Dorkbasket" and will use it from now on. Meanwhile, I haven't blown up a balloon for two score and more years, but I remember how it felt. Thanks for field-testing this for us.
    Meanwhile, I wish you a Merry and a Happy and hope each are the most bestliest evars.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will glady loan you dorkbasket if I can borrow "bestliest"-- And wish it right back to you, Leah!

      Delete
    2. [collects "dorkbasket" and "beastliest" and stows them away]

      Mary Anne in Kentucky

      Delete
    3. Sneaky autocorrect! "bestliest"!

      Delete
  2. Inspiration is active, ie we use muscles to so it. Expiration is passive ie we do not usually use muscles for this. Smoking makes expiration active due to having to force the smoke out. Everyone who smokes gets emphysema. I wonder if this would eventually cause the same thing. Medicine is a real downer...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wait dr. J, are you saying emphsema in smokers is caused by exhalation itself, not the toxins the smokers are inhaling? And does these mean there is a high incidence of emphysema among clowns and other professional balloon blowers?

      Who knew???

      Delete
    2. I'm sure my grandmother, who never smoked, spent very little time blowing up balloons either. I try not to worry about the heredity factor, since I spent my childhood breathing my mother's second hand smoke. Grateful for the good teeth and strong back.

      Mary Anne in Kentucky

      Delete
  3. My GF went into a balloon store one day, but got chased away immediately. Turns out it was a cover shop for some shady "business"

    ReplyDelete
  4. "Skinnier than all your friends" sounds like a reinforcing circular trend that could lead to a lot of skeletons, doesn't it? Also, why let the air out of the balloons after all that effort? Why not tie them to your roof or something?

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mary Anne, love your circular skeletons observation! Perhaps these people will simply try to out-diet each other until they all disappear completely?

      Delete
  5. Keeping with the 'celebratory' theme of balloons, etc...

    There's an old exercise for increasing lung capacity which probably? maybe? kinda-sorta does the same thing - but you can use the same 'device' over and over again: candles!

    Take in a really deep breath (always a good thing :) - then let it that breath out slooowwwwlyyy as you blow the candle out. You move farther away from the candle each time to make it more difficult. Ok - maybe this isn't as TVA oriented as it is lung strengthening, but hey - it's cheap, easy and you can meditate at the same time :)
    Or - if you're really still in that party spirit - how about those little roll out noise makers? You know - the ones you "toot". Fun, cheap, repeatable, annoying to others and effective - what's not to love?? Added bonus: just in time for New Year's Eve and your New Year Resolution !!!
    Anon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon, I hadn't heard of the candle trick, but that sounds way less tedious than blowing up balloons, plus I like the self-competitive aspect to it. Brilliant!

      Note to self: probably shouldn't attempt noisemaker and candle trick simulataneously, could lead to an unfortunate conflagration.

      Delete
  6. If this theory is correct your average clown should have abs of steel from making balloon animals. Next time I see Bozo I'll challenge him to some situps and see if he measures up. I know slightly different muscles but what am I going to do challenge him to blow out birthday candles from across the room.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Too funny Cindy. As it happens, we are staying with the Lobsters mother, and her next door neighbor, no lie, is a balloon blowing clown and sometimes walks by in full costume, giant shoes and all.

      He does NOT appear to have abs of steel, unless we are talking big bulbous steel wine barrels or something. I think you just saved me years of blowing up balloons, thank you!

      Delete
  7. This is the funniest thing ever!! I hate blowing up balloons - it always makes me feel like I'm going to pass out. Years ago when the boys were younger and we needed balloons at parties or for whatever, I found this little hand held pump that did the work for me - now I realize that I missed out on an amazing opportunity to work my abs!
    Can't wait to see how your team is shaping up - keep me in mind if you think of something I can do to help!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kim, I bet with all your core work you have no need of a silly balloon trick! And I am DEFINITELY gonna try to lure you over here in some form or other and try to exploit your blogging talent here so watch out!

      Delete
  8. Actually, I don't like balloons. At least, I don't like getting too close to them, especially if there are active kids around. Loud noises startle me, and the anticipation I feel when I wait for the inevitable pop just makes it worse. If you find a solution for that, I would jump at it. When I was a kid, I popped ballons casually, hit caps with rocks (oh, yeah, and took a lot of deep breaths fast just to see what it felt like). No longer. So I guess I'm just gonna have to keep looking for a solution for those annoying TVAs. Maybe my husband would tolerate it if I took up the clarinet?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love the clarinet idea DRG! And I'm glad I wasn't the only one stupid enough to do the "hyperventilate til you pass out" thing. It was a trick we learned in junior high for.... well for getting a a junior "high" I guess. I think I only did it once but I recall thinking it was actually kind of a cool feeling.

      I am so glad I am no longer 12 years old!

      Delete
    2. I never thought of myself as particularly ahead of others my age, but it was 3rd & 4th grades where we spent all sorts of time out there trying to faint, trying to throw ourselves off of playground equipment in creative ways, just generally testing physical limits in ways that sound singularly unappealing now. And pretty impossible, besides. I once fell off a set of rings while holding a pomegranate. The juice that spattered all over from the impact managed to look a lot like blood to the panicked teacher who came running to pick me up. But of course, I was up & on my way to the next game before she got there. Come to think of it, maybe balloons aren't so scary...

      Hope you're having a wonderful Christmas and looking forward to a terrific 2014!

      Delete
  9. I think I might faint trying to do that!!! ;) I am going to stick with what I do for the abs & transverse abs!!! Keep us posted! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suspect your ab routine is WAY more effective Jody! I'd LOVE to have your abs if I could figure out how to swipe them.

      Delete
  10. I think I'll stick to weighted back extensions, but dorkbasket is my new favorite word. Thank you for teaching me about the TVAs, too. There's an area I didn't even know I had, so now I need to work on it. You're the best, Crabby! Happiest of holidays to you and the Lobster! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YOU are the best Heather, and hope your holidays and absolutely fantastic!

      Delete
  11. Blowing balloons as the new workout. There's nothing I won't hear! LOL

    I like to engage my core in as many exercises as possible.

    We should always breathe with our belly, as yoga teachers will tell you. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HSH, remembering to engage your core can turn any exercise into an ab exercise, I just wish I could remember to do it! Thanks for the reminder.

      Delete
  12. Well, you could blow them up while you read stuff online, but i will probably stick to other ab exercises for now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can read things online without constantly wanting to click on links, Messymimi? I envy you! I would struggle to be online without use of hands for even one balloon, let alone 20. :)

      Delete
  13. It would be absolutely impossible for me to blow up the same balloon more than once. Balloon chasing is Benny's idea of exercise. If I inflate a balloon, I have no choice but to tie it up and give it to him to jump up to greet it and bounce it on his nose.. until he kills it. Lest the wee beast implode with anticipation.

    http://thesmittenimage.blogspot.ca/2011/07/going-going-gone-and-mini-posts-of-week.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOVE the benny vs balloon photos Hilary, thank you for the link!!

      Delete
  14. hahah this is hilarious! I haven't blown up a balloon since I was a kid, but I remember it being really hard. Too funny :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Maren, and thanks for stopping by... all the way from Norway! I really appreciate it!

      Delete
  15. OKAY now this is too funny!! I never even thought about a balloon for ab exercise!!! Ah ha ha ah! I am sure it's better than the AB BELT ;)

    ReplyDelete
  16. All I could think of is how much I wished I had a pin.

    ReplyDelete
  17. My Christmas present to just about everyone on my list (and remember, I have like...2 friends) is to forward them this link. Yes, I'm generous and thoughtful that way.
    Merry Christmas Crabby and thank you for being one of MY presents, year round!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Damn! I don't think any shops are open today for me to go purchase balloons! Tomorrow it is then!
    Thanks for sharing! =)

    ReplyDelete
  19. hi crabby, my recent comment left was deleted. is there a reason why ? i read all your regulations and terms for the comment posting and nothing was violated. hope to hear from you.
    kevindass2 [at] gmail [dot] com

    ReplyDelete
  20. My mother bought that program where you put sprinkles on your food. It was so expensive and I wished she hadn't spent the money, she gave me one to try and I swear to you it made me more hungry. I don't know how anyone lost weight with it. I think the diet industry is incredibly selfish to pray on people so desperate that they will do anything include ingesting tapeworms to lose weight.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for commenting, Cranky Fitness readers are the BEST!

Subscribe to comments via RSS

(Note: Older Comment Threads Are Moderated)