Updated: Dec 5, 2018
What is your Core?
When you say core to most people they think Brad Pitt topless (OK depending on the generation here….) or the ever illusive 6 pack.
When I refer to Core I am referring to your deep Core muscles. They are not as visible as their show pony team mates the rectus abdominals etc but man oh man they do a mammoth amount of work behind the scenes and deserve some serious love too!
An effective deep Core system is definitely something you want to aim for! It helps with really useful things like lumbar stability, continence (peeing and pooping when you want to), enjoyable sex, keeping your organs where they are suppose to be, athletic performance…. just to name a few.
During different stages of our lives our deep core system can be compromised or damaged - think pregnancy, birth, menopause, heavy training, injury and sometimes just good old life or age (our body goes through some amazing changes in our lifetime!).
This damage is not always obvious straight away and can be easily overlooked…. or as in my case you can be completely unaware of it. Unfortunately our bodies don’t always miraculously bounce back to their previous state (and who would want them to - you new body is epic!) without a little help along the way.
After I had my kids I knew my core (what I thought was my core back then) was not as strong as it should be - so I took it slowly getting back into exercise, hired a personal trainer and “listened to my body”. Over time (quite a lot of time) as I felt fitter and my body felt stronger I increased the intensity of my workouts and the load I was putting through my (not known to me at the time) compromised core. Now some people can get away with this with no issues….. unfortunately I was not one of those people. When my baby was 5 (well past baby stage!) I was pretty fit and definitely enjoying exercise. I had no idea how my deep core worked…. but was soon taught in the most effective way by suffering a uterine prolapse (side note - one of the best lessons life has thrown me, but that’s another story).
Think of your deep core as a canister or cylinder made up of four muscles. You have your pelvic floor at the bottom, your multifidus along your lower back (think along your spine), your transversus abdominals wrapping around your body like a corset and then your diaphram at the top. These muscles all need to work together like one happy team for your body to manage load effectively. My deep core muscles were not good team players…..
You then have your more well known core muscles (rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques etc) running over the top. What can happen if you start to load your body before you get your deep core muscles firing correctly? The big muscles running over top can dominate the compromised system underneath (big brother picking on little brother) Think of your core “cylinder” - then squeeze around the middle of your cylinder as you engage your rectus abdominis, push down on the top of your cylinder as you hold your breath (our breathing patterns are so important!)….. where does the pressure go…..? Usually (and definitely in my case) down to the bottom of your cylinder to your pelvic floor. Not only does your pelvic floor already have three exits in it (think pee, baby, poop) making it vulnerable, it may have also been through the trauma of carrying and birthing a child…. eeek it is in trouble with all this load! Especially when it hasn’t learnt how to cope with load again. What may happen - you may leak, suffer injuries, back pain…or even more fun prolapse…not ideal!
The good news is that learning how to fire your deep core muscles and getting them to work as an effective team is not that scary - if only you know how. That is why I do what I do! Teaching woman what I wish I had known!
The best place to start is learning how to breath correctly…. I know you do it a trillion times a day, it’s not that hard is it?? Haha well you’d be surprised! As I have already rambled on far too long in this post I promise we will talk breathing next time🤐😁