Here is a taster of what is in store for Week 4, Tuesday 29th September, book here to join me.
When planning an exercise routine for the core, lots of people focus on the superficial core muscles – rectus abdominis and external obliques. Having a strong core is not about the aesthetics, it’s about the control and support to engage in the activities you want to achieve without strain or injury. In fact having a defined ‘6 pack’ can lead to issues such as incontinence and constipation, problems with breathing and posture.
So where should our focus be placed? On the deep core muscles – which can vary depending on who you ask, we will focus on the below:
– Transverse Abdominis – a corset like muscle which supports the pelvis and spine, our deepest abdominal layer, it helps to hold our organs in
– Multifidus – muscles which line the spine, helping to keep it stable
– Diaphragm – primary muscle used in breathing
– Pelvic Floor – muscles that support the pelvic organs, spanning the bottom of the pelvis
All four muscles work together to support a stable lumbar spine. These muscles are highly intelligent; turning on when needed without conscious thought. The transverse abdominis for example is extremely important when you cough or sneeze, holding the organs in place. However, this intelligence can be lost if we lead very sedentary lives, leading to muscle atrophy, until the muscle is so weak it can no longer perform its action. An example of this occurring in the transverse abdominis is a hernia. One of the best ways to ensure the deep core muscles are working is to maintain a neutral S curve in the spine, by holding the body in its natural upright posture instead of allowing it to slouch down in a chair or sofa.
Most core exercises can be divided into either stabilisation – holding pelvis and spine steady, or articulation – moving through the joints along the spine. Plank is a pose we regularly practice by itself or part of a sun salutation, it’s a stabilisation activity and strongly works the transverse abdominis: