Core Strength – How to Activate you Inner Core Muscles and Coordinate with Breathing

Core Strength – How to Activate you Inner Core Muscles and Coordinate with Breathing


Hi this is Dana Ranahan from Body Works Sports
Physiotherapy. And today I want to talk to you about core
strength. So a lot of us out there want to have a strong
core. Do you want to have a strong core? I want to talk about how the core works and
how we look at the different layers of the core. So the inner core works to stabilize the spine
and help to maintain a neutral spine. And ultimately give us a strong base to work
from. The bigger muscles are the outer core and
they generate more power for us when we’re running, or doing sports, or any kind of athletic
endeavour. So effectively we want to talk a little bit
about how to activate our inner core and what it looks like. So if we take a look at the body, the inner
core is the deepest layer of kind of like a donut around the spine. And on top we have the diaphragm which is
kind of like an umbrella in the top of the rib cage. And then we have a muscle across the top that
runs sort of horizontally this way called transversus abdominous. Now we also have muscles in the bottom of
the pelvis called the pelvic floor muscles that form the floor of the deep core. And we have some deep muscles around the back
called multifidus. So when we want to try to get your core working,
we want to get the deep core working first because it’s important to get that kicking
in first to stabilize. So in this position you can take a look and
see that our model has a little bit of tightness through her rib cage. And she’s a little bit braced through her
sort of diaphragm area. So the first thing I want to get her working
on is some breathing. Before I do that, I’m gonna just set her position
of her lower body to bring her knees up towards her chest so that her hips, knees, and feet
stay in line with her hip effectively. So she doesn’t let her knees fall open at
all. And in this position I’m gonna talk to her
about taking a nice deep breath because the diaphragm is the roof of the core, we need
it to work together with the abdominal muscles to help get that deep stability. So effectively I’m gonna get her to take a
nice deep breath, try to get expansion without too much lift. So trying to get more lateral expansion and
breathing in towards the back or towards the spine. And then as you breath out, letting the rib
cage just soften and doing a little bit of lift through the pelvic floor area. So when we try to get the deep abdominal muscle,
it’s really important that we don’t overshoot it. And if you’re pulling in your muscles in your
abdominal area, so tighten up really strongly. Often you’ll feel it kind of pop up where
you can see the muscles right there popping up. Those are the more superficial muscles. When we want to get the deep system kicking
in, often if we try to use an abdominal queue we pull in really tight through our abdominals,
we end up holding our breath and we don’t get the deep system kicking in. So it’s important to do a little bit more
subtle contraction and working on something like a little kegel exercise which is almost
imagining you’re stopping the flow of urine. Or a little bit of an internal lift. Sometimes we think about a visualization where
you think about a little in drawing of your belly button towards your spine. Or there are various other queues that we
can work to try to find this deep contraction. When the deep contraction happens, it’ll feel
like a little in drawing, almost like your belly button is suddenly pulling in towards
your spine. But not this big popping up contraction with
the big muscles. Now I want to make sure that we can coordinate
it together with your breathing. So taking a deep breath like we started working
on, as you’re breathing out softening through the rib cage. And as you start to soften think about that
little lift through your pelvic floor. Just not too heavy. So go something more subtle. So working on coordinating breathing, breathe
in. As you breath out, soften your diaphragm and
think about a little bit of lift through the pelvic floor. So the most basic thing we can do to get that
deep system working without the big muscles taking over, is to work on breathing pattern. And trying to activate that deep abdominal
muscle through our pelvic floor muscles first. And then we work on moving on to adding movement
to it which is in some of our upcoming videos. So if you have any other questions or have
back pain, or other issues around your hips and back area, often the core is a strong
component to recovery and getting better. Check out our website for more information
at www.body-works.ca. Or give us a call and see how we can help.

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