More Than Just Abs
By Emily Kobel, BA
We all know our core is important to strengthen because a strong core makes us look good. But strengthening our core is so much more than just looking good! Our core consists of a lot of muscles, I refer to it as the shoulder girdle to the hip girdle. Our core is responsible for balance, posture, stabilizing the pelvis, protecting the spine, breathing, and force transfer during movements. That is a lot to take in! We now know the core muscles do a lot for us everyday. Now we need to focus on what we need to do to strengthen these muscles. Most of us do some kind of core exercises in workouts and training, but do you try to engage your core in every exercise you do? Because our core is responsible for things that we don't consciously think about, such as posture and breathing, that means we are using it during every exercise.
To work on engaging your core, exhale and suck in your belly, at the same time, tightening your muscles. Try holding this, keeping your stomach flat rather than sucking it all the way in. You can add a shoe string or any type of string by wrapping it around your belly just so that it is against you while at rest. When you suck in, engaging your core, the string should become loose. You also want to focus on keeping your spine still, all of the movement should be coming from the abdomen. Another way to work on engaging your core muscles is to practice diaphragmatic breathing, or belly breathing. Your stomach should push outwards as you breathe in and then collapse inwards as you breathe out. You can also practice pelvic tilts on the floor. Lay on your back and flatten your spine against the ground and visualize pulling your belly button to the ground.
These are some great ways to practice engaging your core during other movements. It will not be easy at first, you will have to practice over and over again. However, once you begin to feel the contraction, you can start engaging your core throughout your entire workout. If you have any questions on how to engage your core talk with your Trainer or Emily!