In the last part, we started a topic that has been sung many times, namely strengthening the body’s core. We have explained the anatomical characteristics of the area, the importance of the functioning of this system and perhaps I have convinced you that it is useful to us.
Today we will focus on specific methods of how to start working with the system, how to gradually incorporate it into regular training and thus use all the benefits that a strengthened center of the body offers us.
Common reflexes from which we must learn
Before we embark on the “artificial” methods by which we try to get this important ally on our side, I will try to explain to you from my own practice, common life activities, how everything is simple, but most importantly advantageous.
Although I try to spread information about how to make my training and overall lifestyle healthier, we start from the other end, from illness – don’t take me so literally, but we first need to understand what we are working with, because I mentioned in this article the complexity of not being able to really touch the deep stabilization system and not seeing its development in the mirror.
The disease is said to be one of the representatives of deadly diseases for male individuals – cough. It must have happened to you that you coughed so badly for days until the next day and even a few days later your abdominal muscles ached. It hurt you just like your biceps or other body parts hurt after quality training.
As we said last time , the basic function of this complex is to withstand all sorts of stresses, which is to some extent coughing. As the pressure in the chest and thus the abdominal cavity changes sharply, the role of the stabilizer – the body core, especially the transverse abdominis (m. Transversus abdominis), comes into play. Of course, if this stress lasts long enough, the muscle gets tired, as if we have repeatedly lifted any load.
So that we don’t misunderstand and see everyone coughing in the gym during training – these examples are very important, because it is necessary to realize quite simply how it all works.
Another of the representatives, definitely more pleasant, how to learn to be aware of the activity of the body’s core, is laughter. Stronger, loud laughter evokes the same stressful stimuli in our body and forces us to use the muscles to hold everything in place.
Defensive reaction of the body
Another method, as I clearly describe to my clients, how to learn to perceive these muscles and work with them, is the body’s natural defensive response to certain stimuli.
When you were really young, especially boys, you will surely remember how you pounded each other’s “boys” on your stomach to show his strength.
The very idea that someone is about to hit you in the abdomen will provoke a really amazing reaction – try it. There are many of these stimuli. Another usable one is ordinary pushing, which will upset your balance.
It is not for nothing that the body’s core is the muscular center of stability and coordination of our body. And to confirm this statement, try to imagine the individuals who, logically, will be the best at developing the core muscles – athletes from various martial arts industries. How about such judo, Greco-Roman wrestling? Yes, stability plays a unique role here.
All of the above reactions work mainly with the help of breath holding, or at least convulsive interval breathing – laughter, cough.
However, we certainly cannot afford such a luxury as holding our breath during training, and therefore we must learn to handle this system even during normal breathing, or even with increased demands on the exchange of respiratory gases.
We have already talked about the right touch here .
The ideal case is the so-called diaphragmatic breathing, where we try to get as much air as possible into the lower thoracic area and literally push our main inspiratory muscle – diaphragm ( m. Diaphragm ) into the lumbar region. This in itself ensures the activity of the body’s core as well as the physical support of the lumbar region.
In order for everything to work properly, it is necessary to master this technique well, but we still do not win, because the basic prerequisite for the functionality and proper activation of the body core is the correct adjustment of body segments or posture. I may not have to repeat this, but to be sure, we will rather refute certain experienced dogmas that are more harmful than beneficial:
- Trying to balance the lumbar lordotic curve – the natural curvature must remain.
- Shoulders and shoulder blades backwards – the shoulder blades extended apart and the shoulders are pulled down only.
- “Grandmother’s saying” – turn off the chest and pull the halves – the chest in the exhalation position and the buttock muscles relaxed, we adjust the position of the pelvis just by activating the deep stabilization system.
The goal of our efforts is, of course, all sorts of madness, when we attract a heavy barbell in the counter, we rotate with it in various ways, we lift our legs, etc. But we must first come to all this in the right way and definitely not overtake.
Overtaking is a bit more of a problem here, because for example with bench-press it is easier, you just don’t lift a bigger barbell and that’s the end of it, so you have to train with gradual weights, of course you can spoil the technique quite significantly.
The complication with the body’s core is that the superficial muscles could handle more repetitions, more strain, but we want priority elsewhere. It is important to always monitor the position of the body, focusing mainly on:
- Position of the thoracic and lumbar spine
- Position of the chest and ribs
- Adjustment of the pelvis and lower limbs
- Breathing stereotype
Even if the steps here are not mile and we are moving really slowly, it is important to know why we do it – to use the system we activate and learn to use it properly later in regular training to increase performance, reduce health risks, simply to our advantage.
In order not to bore you only with theory, we will go to look at the practice that I promised you last time. You may find the positions and exercises trivial, but only when you focus on their absolute precision will you discover the “buried dog”.
I definitely don’t want you to interrupt your regular workout, lay on your back and start creating the following recommended exercises, but try to include them ideally at the beginning of your workout, maybe just some, and try to perceive your body in a similar way later in a classic workout later. Another suitable option is to practice these “simple” things on a daily basis in peace at home, after all, there are not so many aids needed for these basics.