Mirror/Mirror Episodes

Core of the Core

When we think about working our core, it means lots of crunches, right? Wrong! Today, we're getting to the core of your core.

Fitness Director Kelley Lloyd Davidson says, "For years and years, we only used our ab muscles, our six pack muscles, by doing crunches and full reflection&but we realized in the past few years that working our core, the deeper muscles is much more important than just working our abdominals. It consists of our shoulder girdle, our abdominal wall, our pelvic girdle, and our para spinal muscles which wrap around the spine."

Here are some of her ab blasting ideas:

A lot of us actually breathe the wrong way, meaning when we inhale, we try to get skinny, lift our shoulders, and get more tight in the upper body. When in reality, what we want to do is pretend there's a balloon inside our abdominal wall, and as we inhale, inflate the balloon, push against that transverse, as we exhale flatten the abdominal wall, tightening that cumber bun muscle.

A lot of people do a plank incorrectly. One of the biggest issues I see is people with improper shoulder form. We should have a nice, neutral, shoulder girdle to start with to stabilize us from the top of our body down. What I see a lot is people sinking into their shoulder girdles, retracting the scapula, and when my shoulder girdles are pulled together. I physically can't keep the neutral spine, which means my core, abdominals can't contract. So, then what you then see is people lifting their shoulders because they know they need to be up, and I have pain in my back, pain in my shoulders, my core isn't working anyway, so it's a totally pointless exercise.

An easy movement you can do is a simple bridge or hip lift. When you do this movement, work on keeping your pelvis nice and neutral. Meaning, when you lift your hips, you want your hip bones to stay in a table top. The reason we consider this a core exercise is because our hip girdle is part of our core. So, we want to brace on our abdominal wall and keep our hips nice and neutral, nice and stable.

When we work core, we can't forget about our back muscles  all those muscles that lie beside the spine, help to support our structure, help give us good posture, as well as help keep our spine safe. So, lie down on your stomach, and when you inhale, you're going to lift your right leg and your left arm. So it's one arm and opposite leg. Exhale and switch sides.

The beauty of keeping a strong core is that it makes you look better than any crunch ever could. With a weak core, our shoulder blades run forward, our head jets forward, our abdominal wall pooches out, our hips tuck under to help support our lower back, and all of a sudden it looks like you've gained ten pounds. So roll your shoulders back, strong shoulder girdle, pull your abdominal wall in, belly button to spine, and all of a sudden, you lose ten pounds, and all you did was contract your core.

More information:
Kelley Lloyd Davidson Group Fitness Director - FIT Athletic

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