Bracing Your Core!
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All right, let’s talk this one out bc I know so many of you have heard, used, or taught these cues to encourage core activation during workouts. So what’s wrong with them?
When using these cues, it typically makes people brace or “flex” their superficial abs. It can “FEEL” like stabilization, & an isometric (muscle contraction without movement) contraction can have a stabilizing effect, but in general, the superficial abs (rectus & obliques) are NOT stabilizers, they’re MOVERS.
In addition, research has shown that the primary stabilizing ab muscle (the transverse abdominis) gets “turned off” during pregnancy, episodes of low back pain, injury, & surgery. If you’ve experienced any of these things, your brain likely isn’t quickly & easily firing the TA like it’s supposed to.
So what does the brain do when something is hard? It chooses the path of least resistance – aka superficial abs. But remember – superficial abs are movers, not primary stabilizers.
So what happens when the inner core isn’t working but we “suck in” or tighten these superficial muscles with all our might?
Increased pressure going down onto a weak pelvic floor >> leaking & prolapse symptoms along w/ potentially worsening back pain!
What’s the answer? Retrain the brain how to isolate & not just fire the TA, but fire it without thinking about it! The TA is really supposed to work with the brain on it’s own! In fact, it’s shown to turn on “In anticipation of movement!” This means, before you even move, it’s supposed to fire!
It’s designed to work WITH your other inner core muscles as a TEAM to provide stabilization for the spine & pelvis.
Don’t get me wrong – there is a place for abdominal bracing, but we shouldn’t be constantly bracing EVER, & if the inner core isn’t working, it’s not going to do us a lot of good.
Want to learn how to do this correctly? Join my next pelvic core online course where we do exactly that. I’ve taught this to hundreds of women & seen them improve low back pain, prolapse symptoms, get rid of incontinence, heal diastasis, & so much more.
We start again on January 11 and we already have a growing waitlist. Sign up at the link below!