Where is Core Strength?
What does it mean to have a strong core?
Raise your hand if you think of six-pack abs when someone says the phrase “strong core.”
Would it surprise you to learn that you can have a perfectly chiseled stomach and still have a weak core body?
Strange, but true!
Our core encompasses all of the muscles between and including our respiratory diaphragms and pelvic floors. I have also heard wiser, more experienced people than I suggest “core” includes any muscle that connects to our hips - which, in terms of fascia, is basically all of them! But it is safe to reel it back and focus on the bottom half of our body trunks.
Where did this emphasis on the six-pack come from if the core is so large? I think it is because it is the most visible of the core muscles. The pelvic floor, diaphragm and intervertebrals lie deep in the body, sheltered by bones. We do not often look at our own backs. And strong internal and external obliques and transverse abdominal are not nearly as impressive an image. When we work, we like to see results, and very little is more visible than the rectus abdominis.
However, our abs can be looked at as a keystone when looking to create greater support for our core body. We just have to shift our focus to the transverse abdominis - sometimes called the pelvic girdle. Working the transverse abs will simultaneously increase lumbar flexibility and stability while also relieving pressure and strain from your pelvic floor and diaphragm.
At this point you might be wondering, “What kind of crazy crunches do I have to do to exercise that?” Technically, none at all! There are several variations of this move, but the basic premise is
Sit or stand so your spine is straight
Take a deep breath into your stomach
As you exhale, draw your belly button toward your spine and up under your ribs cage (it will not go all the way in either direction, so please don't hurt yourself trying 😉)
Hold this position as you breathe normally for five breaths
Do five sets daily
Ta da! Let me know in the comments what differences you feel after doing this for a week.
You can also support your core with abdominal massage. Have you ever had your stomach massaged? Did you even know that was a thing? What are you experiences? Let me know in the comments!