I have a few more thoughts about core strength that I want to share with you, especially since my previous two posts were on the subject. I can’t include all of the salient points regarding core strength in one post, but I can leave you with more to think about regarding one of my favorite (and often misunderstood) topics. Here’s a brief recap and a few new points as well.
First of all….
Strong core muscles help to eliminate and prevent back pain and injuries. However, they are only effective if you are doing them correctly. Otherwise, not only are you wasting your time, you can cause serious injury to your low back and neck. Even worse, you can develop a strong muscle that pooches out rather than in. Of course, from someone who has suffered miserably from low back pain, neck pain, incapacitating headaches, and an abdominal wall that was so tight the fibers threatened to snap, I would prefer dealing with a pooch-y belly. But, that’s just me.
The good news….
You can effectively strengthen your core without the torment of conventional crunches or sit-ups. All you have to do is learn how to isolate and activate the abdominal muscle (your transverse abdominis) that is primarily responsible for strengthening your core. So, core awareness is just as important as core strength, and the ability to isolate and activate the proper abdominal muscles is a key component to achieving both.
Less is more….
As you are learning how activate your transverse abdominis, remember that the process is more complex than merely strengthening your abdominal muscles. It’s about fine-tuning your abdominals rather than mindlessly grinding out exercises that are supposed to “help” you. When you are trying to isolate and engage your transverse abdominis, keep in mind that less is more. Here are a few check points to consider:
- You shouldn’t have any tension in your low back, hips, or pelvis.
- Keep your jaw relaxed and your face and eyes soft.
- The only area where you should feel tension is deep in your lower abdominals.
More about your core….
Core strength and awareness isn’t limited to the strength of your muscles. It also refers to your strength of character, your convictions, your personal values, and your belief system. Core strength and awareness is also a representation of your spirit, which determines who you are as a person, and how you move through life. And when you move from your core, both literally and figuratively, you can move through all stages of life with strength, grace, and confidence. It’s a beautiful thing, don’t you agree?