- Drop to a plank on forearms
- Place a pillow, yoga block, or soccer ball between your legs (squeeze the object for the whole 30 seconds)
- Pull the belly button in BUT fill the cylinder by squeezing out (you should be tight all over – front, back, sides)
- Pull shoulders away from ears. activate lats like you are holding magazines under your arm pits.
CORE 101The core is much more than just a 6-pack. The core is a collection of muscles that work together to provide static or dynamic strength to the spine through both posture and/or movement. Think of your core as a spherical container muscle that stabilizes, controls, supports, and braces in order to protect your spine and optimize stabilization and movement in all 3 planes of motion. If you need more of a visual, imagine your body without arms and legs. What is left makes up your core’s domain. Clearly, there are several muscles that are in this group. Major muscles included are the pelvic floor muscles, transverse abdominis, multifidus, internal and external obliques, rectus abdominus, erector spinae (sacrospinalis), longissimus thoracis, and the diaphragm. Minor core muscles include the latissimus dorsi, gluteus maximus, and trapezius. The core is strengthened and sculpted as a group. There is no such thing as a tight 6 pack with love handles.
S or C PostureMost of us fall under the category of one or the other. Figuring out which category you are in will tell us what we really need to focus on when it comes to training and exercise selection. Imagine that we separated your upper body from your lower body. Now imagine your lower body is a glass of water. If your glass of water is spilling in front of you it means you are in excessive S posture and your pelvis is anteriorly rotated. If the glass is pouring out behind you odds are you are in C posture ( posterior tilt ). Either way there are specific muscles that need to be addressed for strength, length, and activation. If you spend most of your time in a flexed position then I would probably not recommend sit ups due to the stress that they can cause on the neck and back. Disc issues are common and if an exercise has the potential to cause injury to someone then that exercise has no business being part of the exercise prescription. S POSTURE – is a tightness of the hip flexor muscles in the front part of the hip. This often occurs in combination with weak abdominals and weak glutes (butt muscles), a condition known as the lower cross syndrome. Many of you out there are forced to live sedentary lifestyle. Working in an office from 9-5 or spending lots of time traveling can produce this condition. Further causes that may lead to this posture are women wearing heels too often and men building that impressive beer belly. C POSTURE – is as an excessive roundness in your upper back. There are several possible factors that could play into creating this from having limited thoracic spine extension, scapular instability, to Upper Crossed Syndrome – muscle imbalances including tight pecs, lats, upper traps, and levator scap and weakness in the mid-scapular muscles, serratus anterior, lower traps, and deep neck flexors. Lack of core stability can play into this as well. Our posture is created by our habits and daily activities. We all started somewhere from the time we are born. How we grew up and what we were involved in on a daily basis was very important on how we took shape This is from sport, occupation, and whatever else we do. When certain things start to dominate our daily basis our body starts to hold that shape. I think of it as when you look at someone and know they are a swimmer or a wrestler. Over time they just develop that type of body. I advise all parents to get their kids into gymnastic or martial arts at a young age. These programs really help develop overall skill, coordination, and awareness.
Are sit ups good or bad???I think that really depends on the individual. Most of society is dealing with some type of posture issue. If you look at the featured picture can you figure out which one you are in? If not you should have a fitness professional screen you. This can really help you find the proper way to train for yourse To say sit ups are good or bad really does come down to the individual. What I will say is there are better ways to go about training the core. Even if I give you the “green light” to do some sit ups and crunches I am certainly not giving you high doses of it. If you are struggling for the abs to pop out and you are doing 500 sit ups a day, adding another 100-500 will not get you the abs. Sorry. No chance and plenty of wasted time.
When do we add or focus on core?The Sprinkle Effect is how you will see me incorporate core training in my workouts. Whether we are doing direct or indirect core work I believe it has a purpose in every exercise that we do. Core stability and control is needed before we get into the dynamic circus acts that we see out there. BURN does not = Results. All classes nowadays (yoga, pilates, fusion classes, etc.) have core sections which are simply used to torture and burn clients so they feel something (for me I just feel my hip flexors wanting to explode). That 3-5 minute core complex is just to pleases the masses so they come back. I also look at those who have no idea how to breathe, engage, and brace. If you cannot hold a plank, I doubt you can do a push up, and I certainly know that person should not be attempting handstand push ups with feet against the wall. Stability without mobility is dangerous. Here is how drills might be implemented into a session.
- Breathing Drills
- Activation Drills
- Correctional Drills
- Super Sets – Example – Goblet Squats + Farmers Carry or Bench Press + Hanging Leg Raise