Getting Started: what you need to know

image23

UNDERSTANDING THE CORE

1) Breathing

2) Regulating pressure

3) Balance of the abdominal muscles (RA, EO, IO, and TA’s)

4) How you use your Core all day long—How are you loading your core?

5) Posture—How you stand and sit is important for core stability


What’s the Role of the core? SUPPORT AND MOVEMENT

a. Each abdominal muscle has its own role

Rectus Abdominis—6 pack muscle, that is what most of us focus on leaving out the other muscles and that leads to problems. When you are rectus dominate, your abs will bulge out, Function of the RA is: 

· Flexion (Roll-Ups, Abdominal Contraction “crunch”, Roll-Downs (standing))

· Posterior Pelvic Tilt (C-Curve)

External Obliques—On the outer sides of the trunk and run down diagonally. When you are EO dominate you might have a lower belly pooch due to excessive downward pressure.

Function of the EO is: 

· Rotate trunk

· Pull chest downward (compresses the abdominal cavity)

Internal Obliques—inner sides of the trunk and run up diagonally. When you are IO dominate you might have a flared rib cage due to excessive upward pressure

Functions of the IO is:

· Supports the abdominal wall

· Assists TA’s in forced expiration, aids in raising pressure in the abdominal area

· Transversus Abdominis—the deepest layer of the core muscles that attach from the spine and wrap around to the front it is often thought of as the “internal corset”. If you are TA dominate you will have a sturdy core but you may also have Pelvic floor symptoms if you don’t know how to regulate the pressure.

Functions of the TA’s:

· Responsible for the body’s overall function and stability

· Support the abdominal wall by compression and hold the internal organs in place

· Support spine when bending over and squatting


BREATHING:  

· Good breathing is being able to breath down to the pelvic floor with a 360 expansion of your abdominal canister.  This means you will breathe Into the back, sides, belly, and chest NOT shoulders.

·When pregnant it gets tough to breath diaphragmatically, especially  if you've never paid any attention to how you breathe.  Most women end up with shallow breathing pattern and a weak diaphragm, but that is so bad….it cause Diastasis Recti and Pelvic Floor issues to worsen because of the pressure issues with shallow breathing. 

· Focused breathing with forced exhalation wrapping your Transverse Abdominis from the bottom up (like a zipper) is an EXCELLENT exercise to adopt for core strength.


MEET YOUR BODY WHERE IT'S AT

It all comes down to meeting your body where it's at, just because you can do something doesn't mean you should .  For me, I thought what I was doing for years was working for me, but come to find out it exacerbated my DR. I was queen of: CRUNCHES, ROLL UPS, BICYCLE CRUNCH, DOUBLE LEG LIFTS, RUSSIAN TWISTS. All of these exercises work the core but after four kids my core needed something else first before I dove right into the traditional core exercises.  

You need to be able to work the Transversus Abdominis, it's the deepest core muscle that acts as an internal corset.  This is IMPORTANT in order to help you regulate your intra abdominal pressure so that you can start healing your Linea Alba by eliminating the repetitive force to the abdominal wall. 

MOVING SAFE: an essential part of recovery

Your everyday movements will help or hinder your progress.  If you are doing movements throughout the day where you are consistently bulging your abs, then you will not reach full resolution. It's very critical that you take this step seriously. 

 If ever in doubt; ask yourself if you can perform the task with your Transverse Abdominis wrapped without bulging the core and  NO downward pressure in the pelvic floor.   ALWAYS exhale on exertion.

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN EXERCISING

RESISTANCE TRAINING ASSESSMENT:

  1. Stop any forceful repetitive stress to the abdominal wall or pelvic floor
  2. ALWAYS exhale on any exertion. For example: during a bicep curl, EXHALE as you curl the weight up to the shoulder, inhale during the release on the way down.
  3. Always ask yourself, is this going to help or hinder my core?
  4. Can I control my intra-abdominal pressure by wrapping my Transverse Abdominis and avoid any downward pressure on my pelvic floor for the duration of this exercise without holding my breath or WITHOUT leaking urine? If yes, it's safe for you.  If you can NOT, skip or modify that movement and reasess in a couple of weeks. 


CARDIO ASSESSMENT:

If you can lift your abs and pelvic floor up and back on exhalation WITHOUT bulging your core or pelvic floor you are safe. If you experience any leakage you are not ready for that exercise. Modify that exercise for a couple of weeks.  Keep training your core with safe core  strengthening exercises and always work on your breathing.  Then revisit that exercise after the two weeks and note the changes. If you are no longer bulging your core or experience any leaking you are now ready for that exercise.