Use Your Core!

Wednesday, Wednesday.

Nothing super exciting seems to happen on Wednesdays.  For me anyways- I’m busy, tired, and in my work mode.  I decided today was a good day to take a day off from working out…..I’ve been working out everyday since Saturday, so I needed a relaxing evening.   I was actually looking forward to coming home and chilling out a bit….I think this is necessary for me sometimes to make it through the week.  If I let my days always stay “go go go”, I get pretty stressed out and physically exhausted.  So tonight I’m making dinner (baking salmon, YUM) and the hubby and I are going to watch the Season 2 Premiere of “American Horror Story.”  If any of you haven’t seen this show yet, CHECK IT OUT! It’s super creepy but really well written and the acting is pretty amazing.

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We have all heard of “Core Training” as it’s been a craze for the past few years (as it should be).  The core is an important link between our upper and lower body.  Today, I wanted to review some quick facts about why the core is important and a way to start training it correctly.  Traditional abdominal exercises (sit ups etc) have typically focused on the Rectus Abdominis muscle (the “6 Pack Muscle).  But when we neglect our deep inner core muscles, regardless of how strong our big external muscles are, we can be vulnerable to injury and our bodies may not function at its peak efficiency.

To begin core training, it’s suggested to start with the activation of the inner core muscles as a foundation.  Today I’m going to review the Transverse Abdominis (TA) and an exercise you can do to strengthen and use it correctly.  Research has also shown that strengthening the TA is key for alleviating back pain.  Ideally, the TA is the first muscle you fire when you move, which gives your body support.  With injury, pain, or disuse, the normal firing pattern can get out of sinc.

The TA is the deepest abdominal muscle that runs horizontally across your midsection.  It wraps around your waist like a corset, stabilizing your spine.

Source

So, How Do I Activate It? 

The goal is to isolate the TA from the Rectus muscle.  You activate your TA by drawing your belly button up and in toward your spine.  It is important to initiate this engagement down low. Think of a spot an inch or two below your belly button. Remember you don’t need to give these muscles the death squeeze- you should be able to breath normally and carry on a normal conversation.  They are support muscles, so you need them for your entire workout- not just 2 sets.

There are many cues for this action: bring your belly button to your spine, scoop in, hollow out, zip it up (like zipping up a tight pair of pants)

Give it a Try!  Practice this anywhere- when sitting at stoplights, in line at the grocery store, etc.  This is basic, but a good stepping stone to more challenging core strengthening.

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On another note I’m excited to say that I’m now a  “Healthy Living Blogger.”   Here’s a quick run down of what the HLB is all about:

“Healthy Living Blogs was designed to enhance the already tight-knit, supportive community of the healthy living blog world. An amazingly strong connection is formed when like-minded individuals come together to encourage one another, and that’s exactly what HLB is here to accomplish. Find new blogs that blow you away. Find new inspiration. Find people in your geographic area to meet and encourage and support you in real life.”

I’m happy to be a part of this community of same-minded bloggers….I hope to make some new connections and learn some blogging tips! I’ll also get the opportunity to guest post on their “Healthy Living Tuesdays.”  Exciting stuff ahead!! :)

I hope everyone gets the chance to relax and breath this week…..and hey, while you are doing this why not try some TA activation??

Later friends!

~M~

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