Why do we say “Draw the bellybutton into the spine”?

Uncategorized Jul 22, 2020

You may have heard us say this term during class. (You may have heard us say some things that make no sense - these can slip out by accident - this isn’t one of them!). You may also hear us say ‘scoop’ the bellybutton into the spine.

We have four layers of abdominal muscles. When we draw (or scoop) the bellybutton into the spine, the two deepest layers are switched on, and form a strong muscular corset in the abdomen. Training in this way has been shown to be very effective in reducing lower back pain and strengthening the abdominal muscles.

Drawing the bellybutton into the spine is different to a ‘brace’. A brace involves a large muscular contraction of all the abdomen and spinal muscles, and makes it difficult to breathe.

With the ‘drawing’ technique, you should be able to maintain a steady inhale and exhale in time with the moves we are doing on the reformer at that time. 

So, next time we are doing the roll down, or arms in straps, or any other time we say “draw the bellybutton into the spine”, think of your deep abdominal muscles forming a strong corset in your torso. 


Richardson, C.A., Snijders, C.J., Hides, J.A., Damen, L., Pas, M.S., and Storm, J. (2002) The relation between the transversus abdominis muscles, sacroiliac joint mechanics, and low back pain. Spine, 27(4), pp.399-405.


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