Fit to the Core
More than an ab workout.
Allison Kares, NCPT
ARE YOU DOING AN AB WORKOUT to try and help your back pain?
Did you realize that your abdominals are only one small part of your core?
Your core is comprised of your pelvic floor muscles, deepest layer of abdominals (transversus abdominus}, deep backstabilizers (multifidus) and your diaphragm.
To achieve optimal function, your core muscles require strength, flexibility and coordination and control.
When I first started working with people with back pain, the goal was always to make things more "stable" through exercises that held the spine and pelvis still. As I've continued to work with men and women with back pain over the last 2.5 years, our approach has evolved and we see results even quicker than before. We now look at your movement strategies to evaluate how they contribute to poor alignment and painful habits during your daily activities. Stabilization techniques have progressed from simpler movment like planks to more complex ones that recquire three dimensional movement and segmental control.
What decreases core function?
Poor alignment of the spine, ribcage and pelvis
Gripping or over-activating muscles
Restricting movements through bracing techiques or by limiting range of motion
What should you do to improve your core?
Focus on alignment and positioning of your body to ensure optimal engagement of all four of your core group of muscles.
Complete only as many repetitions as you can do with proper form. Excessive, poorly executed repetitions are not only unnecessary but can be contributing to ineffective core activation.
Use your breath to guide your movement and create support. Your exhale will help to create activation of both your pelvic floor and deepest abdominals.
Once you are able to stablilize your spine and pelvis, incorporate movements that require more complex control rather than focusing on exercises that only encourage you to keep everthing locked down in place.
If you have an injury, work with a professional who understands movement and alignment as well as your pathology. The more guidance you can receive that helps you to improve your movemtn patterns and muscle activation, the more successsful you will be.
Effective core exercises that create balance in the body are an integral part of everyone's fitness plan. Your health and wellness depend on it.
"Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness. Our interpretation of physical fitness is the attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body with a sound mind fully capable of naturally, easily, and satisfactorily performing our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure." - Joseph Pilates