Friday, September 16, 2011

Tips for working your CORE

Everyone wants strong supportive abdominals, to look great, and be pain free... right? Then we must know how to stabilize our pelvis while strengthening our CORE. Check out a few tips from NASM:  
  • Before doing activity, pull in (the region just below the navel) toward the spine in a drawing-in maneuver to engage and support
  • Keep the cervical spine (most high portion leading toward your neck) in a neutral position to improve posture, muscle balance, and stabilization
    • Interesting fact!! Maintain level eyes because of something called the pelvo-ocular reflex: the muscles around the neck will go into hyperextension if you are looking upward and this will cause the pelvis to anteriorly rotate (sway back) to realign the eyes... leading to muscle imbalances and decreased pelvic stabilization.  Check out the photos below to see what we don't want!
    Cervical hyperextension
    Sway back (anterior pelvic tilt)
  • Stabilization muscles of the core are mostly slow firing muscles so they need to be sustained during contraction to strengthen -- at least 6 - 20 seconds, so move slowly
  • Do not go into lumbar (low back) hyperextension, as seen in the picture above above, during abdominal work as this may place stress and pressure on the disks and ligaments leading to serious low back pain or injury 
And check out tomorrow's post: exercises to stabilize and build strength! 

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