Bloating is no fun. In fact, it's uncomfortable as hell. And while you may not want to move a ton when bloated, there are exercises that will help you de-bloat and help prevent bloating in the long run. "When it comes to reducing bloating, it's all about elongating the abdominal muscles," says fitness trainer Evan Breed. "The more you can stretch and lengthen the abdomen the better because you're ultimately creating blood flow in your body that will eliminate bloating."
As for actual exercises, Breed focuses on the kind that will continue those stretches and lengthening movements. "I'd stick to toning workouts that focus on controlled movements that elongate your shape," she says. "P.volve is a great low-impact workout based on functional science, meaning we focus on movements that will elongate your shape and build strength to carve out the body that's best for you." Ready to de-bloat? Here are a few elongating abdominal movements that Breed recommends.
1. Step Back and Reach
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"This stretch focuses on extending and lengthening the abdominal muscles while also providing a deeper stretch into your hips. Extend your arms overhead, and step back with your right leg directly behind you at six o'clock. (Make sure you're on the ball of your foot and your heel is pointing up.) At the same time, reach your arms back, stretching through the abdomen. Follow with your gaze as you reach back to deepen the stretch and work on your stability. Repeat eight times on each side."
"Extend your arms overhead, and step out with your right leg at a 45-degree angle. Rotate your torso to the left side, simultaneously reaching your arms over to the left. Repeat eight times on each side. You want to make sure there's some distance in between your feet, which is the key to this exercise and will turn on and work the inner thigh muscles. Push off your left glute to open your leg, and close it to bring you back in. At P.vole, we put your spine and torso into different rotations—combined with extension—and steps with the lower body. It allows your muscles to constantly lengthen and engage to create stabilization through your torso and makes your abs work to stabilize your back."
"This one works the full body with an emphasis on your lower core. Reach your arms overhead, and extend your right leg out in front at about 12 o'clock. Make sure to have a slight bend in your (left) standing leg! Lean slightly backward, bend your right knee, and lift your right leg to 90° in front of you. At the same time, press your arms down to shoulder height. Repeat six times on each side. The combination of both stretching your abdominals while reaching back with the contraction of pulling your abs in with the knee lift will reduce your bloating symptoms while sculpting and strengthening your abs!"
"Position yourself on your hands and knees, making sure your knees are directly under your hips and your wrists are directly under shoulders, and extend your right leg back straight to 6 o'clock while shifting your entire body back slightly, extending your arms in front of you on the mat. From here, reach your left hand up to the ceiling and rotate your torso to the left side. Make sure to stabilize your weight in your left glute! This twist in your torso will also help lengthen your abs and open up your chest, maximizing your overall blood flow. A little extra challenge: Look up toward the ceiling as you reach up to improve your overall balance."
"P.volve has created patented, proprietary fitness equipment to go along with their workouts. The p.ball is key for this bridge series because it balances the pelvis when done with correct core activation. Also, back bridges promote the reverse of your blood flow, which will help de-bloating. First, lie on your back with your knees bent and slightly rotated outward. Hover your pelvis about an inch off the mat, engaging your lower abs, and lift up. Squeeze the ball in between your legs, and then release back down into the hover. While lifting up, make sure to engage the glutes at the top by squeezing your knees into the p.ball for that extra inner-thigh activation. Repeat eight times. This helps strengthen the abs and open up the hips, promoting blood flow and digestion, which is a huge factor in reducing bloating."
"Still lying on your back, float your knees to about 90°, place your hands behind your head, and lift your chest up. At the same time, engage with the p.ball by squeezing your knees together at the top, and then release and lower your chest. Repeat eight times. I really encourage that little squeeze of the p.ball at the top, as it really activates your lower abdominals.
"The final move in this series, still lying on your back, is to extend your legs straight into the air with your feet flexed, open to just outside of the hips, really focusing on lengthening your legs. When you close your legs, make sure to give that p.ball an extra squeeze before opening back up. This extra squeeze is crucial because it engages your pelvic floor, lower abs, inner thighs, and glutes!"
If you're having trouble with the bridge flow series, Breed says you can create a diamond shape with your hands and place them under your pelvis for extra support.
If you don't feel like moving at all while bloated, Breed has one last tip. "If I'm bloated and really don't feel like moving, I like to just lay on a yoga bolster and take a few deep breaths. We can all do that, at least."
This article was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of advice of your physician or other medical professionals. You should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first with any health-related questions. See our full health disclaimer here.