Activation of the Core

Blog #34   Activation of the Core

“Activate or engage your core”, you hear this all the time if you are taking any type of an exercise class.  What does it actually mean? What the heck is the core?

The core includes your low back, your abdominals superficial and deep, hips, glutes and the pelvic floor. This group of muscles allows you to rotate, resist rotation, stabilizes your torso, keeps you upright, allows for good posture and maintains your balance.  By keeping your core activated you are able to do all these movements properly and you will be more efficient in your movement.

By learning the proper way to engage or activate your core you will be taking work away from other muscles allowing them to not overwork while doing activities such as lunges, squats, swinging it a golf club etc.

The easiest way to explain activating or engaging the core would be to cough or bracing yourself as your getting ready to be punched or someone is going to push you over and you have to resist them and stay upright.

So, let’s give this a whirl shall we!

  • Lie on your back and relax with your legs bent, breathing in and out.  
  • Let’s try and get you in neutral spine. Put your hands on your hips, now push your low back into the ground hold it and now let’s arch your low back.  Do this a few times, then relax. This should now be where your back is in the neutral position.  This is different for everyone.
  • Place your fingers on each side of your belly button to find your core abdominal muscles.  
  • Practice tightening and relaxing the muscles without movement.  To get what that should feel like, cough and you should feel the muscles engage.
  • As soon as you feel your muscles without movement, try to hold the contractions for 10 seconds. Remember to keep breathing.
  • Once you can hold the contractions for 10 seconds, start mixing it up by doing this exercise sitting and then standing.
  • Remember to keep your spine in a good position with your chest up, ears in line with the tips of your shoulders and lower back. 
  • Before you know it, you will be doing it automatically.

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