Physical Therapy

How do you really activate the inner core?

November 15, 2022

I’m Tanya.
I’ve learned that a little bit of intentionality goes a long way in accomplishing the goals we set for ourselves. This blog is meant to equip you with just that - simple tips, tricks, advice, and encouragement that help you live an intentional life. 
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Phrases commonly used when instructing others on how to activate the inner core:

  • Pull the belly button to spine
  • Suck In
  • Tighten your abs

This actually can increase pressure and turn off the deep core

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, but mostly it’s a contraction of the superficial abs (rectus & obliques) which are NOT stabilizers, they’re MOVERS.

In addition, research shows that our stabilizers get “turned off” during pregnancy, episodes of low back pain, injury, and 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. 

And 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 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 its own! In fact, it’s shown to turn on “In anticipation of movement!” This means, before you even move, it’s supposed to fire!

Don’t get me wrong – there’s 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? It’s time for Pelvic Core Online. I’ve taught this to hundreds of women & seen them improve low back pain, prolapse symptoms, get rid of leaking, heal diastasis, & so much more.

Doors open again on November 26 and we’ve got some AMAZING bonuses coming too, so stay tuned!

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Sharing a bit of my heart, my daily life, and all things women's health.