We like to focus on strengthening and engaging your core here at The Studio. The core is the center of your body. These muscles include abdominal muscles, obliques, lower back, hips, hip flexors, gluteus medius/gluteus maximus, your diaphragm and the muscles in your pelvic floor/pelvis.
I like to compare the core of your body to your life, in general. When we have a strong core (spiritually speaking), we have strength from the inside, out - strength that can hold us up under pressure and even though the center of us isn't something we see, it's the most important part of who we are. The core of our body is the same. When our core is strong, everything we do can be enhanced in a positive way. But when it's weak, we suffer with poor posture, imbalance, lower back pain, and believe it or not - every movement we perform can be more difficult - from standing up to lifting grocery bags.
Next time you are performing a strength training movement, no matter what it may be, try engaging and lifting through the core when you do the movement. Your abdominal muscles should be tight and pulling in, but you should be able to breathe and move normally. Engaging your core is not sucking in your tummy and holding your breath! You can practice engaging your core at any time by feeling your ribs expand to the sides while you inhale, then as you exhale contract and zip up your abs, thinking about pulling your navel up and in toward your spine. Sometimes I like to cue, "It's like your belly button is going in for a kiss to your spine." Keep breathing normally while you continue to contract your core.
Some ways to improve your core strength include:
Plank Hold (breathe through this and hold as long as you can once per day)
Strength Training Classes
Intentionally engaging the core when driving, walking, standing in line.
Keeping your core engaged properly while exercising will help keep your core strong and reduce your risk of injury not only while working out, but also in your day to day activities. Core training helps with muscle balance and stability, something we could all use more of in today's world.
We look forward to helping you strengthen your core at The Studio! If you have a weak core and would like some help in knowing how and when to engage your core during class, make sure you let your instructor know. We are all more than happy to help you! See you soon.