May Workout: Engage The Core
We hear about it during every workout, and your coach will always tell you to “engage the core” with certain exercises. Some people will have no problem executing this, but for those of us that are unsure – what exactly does this mean?
When we engage our core, we are trying to use the muscles of the mid-section (mainly rectus & transverse abdominus), which provide support and stabilization for all movements. If you are not firing your core effectively, other areas of the body can be subject to unnecessary stress. This usually results in poor posture and back pain.
How do we know if our core is engaged? Our core naturally activates in the process leading up to coughing or laughing – this is the same activation we are trying to feel during the exercises. Below are a few exercises in which we can activate and engage the core:
Starting in a quadruped position, slowly extend your right leg behind you while reaching your left arm forward. Try to imagine tug-of-war between your leg and arm as you extend-reach. Keep the hips and shoulders square, and do not arch the lower back. Hold the position for about 10 seconds, and then repeat on the opposite side.
Quadruped Stability Ball Rocking
Starting in a quadruped position, slowly rock back into the ball while maintaining a neutral spine. After you feel pressure on the ball, raise one arm while keeping the hips square. Hold the position for about 10 seconds, and then repeat on the opposite side.
Supine Trunk Rotation
Lying flat down, bring your knees towards your chest so that your hips and knees are bent at 90-degree angles. Make sure to keep the palms and shoulders flat on the ground. Slowly exhale and bring the knees down towards the left side. Hold the position for about 10 seconds, and then repeat on the opposite side.
B.KIN, BCAK Certified Kinesiologist
Innovative Fitness – Four Seasons
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