Q: What is your core?
A: (Me, 12 years ago) Abs!
I used to think my core was just my "abs" and my "abs" were just that six pack muscle.
It wasn't until I took a Pilates class long ago, that I began to be able to understand the question "what is your core" because I finally felt like I had the answer at my fingertips. It was during this class that I felt how small movements helped me to activate my core muscles in amazing ways - I was doing less but feeling more.
So back to the question: what is your core?
Think of your core as a multidimensional network of muscles that holds you together at your center, from your ribcage to your pelvis.
The top of your core is your diaphragm.
The bottom of your core is your pelvic floor.
The back of your core is your multifidi.
The front of your core is your abdominal muscles.
Your core holds your guts in. It separates your abdominal cavity from your heart and lungs. Your core...
For years, I thought I was working my core through sit ups, crunches, etc but I was just going through the motions, quite literally.
I decided to try a mat pilates class at my gym and in walked a pint sized, tough-as-nails former Ironman triathlete who transformed the way I felt the body I was living in.
Sounds dramatic, eh? Well, it was. A light bulb went off when she cued a few small things that made a huge difference, the biggest one being how to breathe.
I never realized there was a way to breathe. You just do it, without thinking, in your sleep.
Normal, every day breathing involves an expansion of the abdominal cavity as you inhale. If we are trying to strengthen these muscles, we need to hold a steady contraction. And when movement becomes more dynamic (think: moving arms and legs in order to challenge the core) that steady contraction is critical to stabilizing our core.
Often times, people don't feel their core activating because they are...