Why You Are Training Your Core All Wrong

Are you getting a sore back? Are you an office based worker, but you like to get outdoors? You like trail running, you like getting out into the hills. You like trekking, hiking, mountaineering, but you find that you’re getting sore after you do your activities. And everybody tells you, you got to train the core. But do you actually really understand what that means? So many people don’t understand the core. Hi, I’m Joe Bonington. I’m the bucket list coach. And I’ve been a strength and performance coach specializing in wilderness activities and a trek leader in my own right for the last 20 years. So what I want to do here, I’m going to tell you about a tin of beans. Okay? This is serious. No jokes about “beanz meanz fartz”. So when we talk about the core, I want you to think about a tin. Okay? Now, if we take a tin. And if we take the lid off one side, how easily can we crush that tin? So just think like the last time that you had a tin of anything, and you cut the top off? How easy did it become to crush that tin? Pretty easy. But on the other hand, if that tin is fully sealed, how hard do you think it is to crush then? It’s pretty hard, you can you know, you can maybe make a dent in it. But that’s about it. This is in actual fact, this is our core. It’s a really good representation. So if we think about our core, we’ve got kind of TVA, transverse abdominus here, and then we’ve got internal obliques there, we’ve got multifidus, which runs all the way up and down the spine, we’ve got erector spinae running up there, as well, we’ve got a QLs below there below, beneath some ribs in the hips, we’ve got our external obliques and we’ve got our rectus abdominus. That’s what most people think of with the core. There are two other really important muscles, there’s the lid, which is the diaphragm and then we’ve also got the pelvic floor, which is the bottom of the tin. And what we want to do when we’re engaging the core, there’s this big argument about whether we should be bracing or hollowing. Now, we actually want to be doing a little bit of both. So what I encourage people to do is pull that belly button in slightly, and then brace and when I say brace, what we want to do is we want to pull our pelvic floor up and in, we want to take a big breath by pulling that up, we’re increasing intra abdominal pressure in here and we squeeze, okay. And we squeeze like that. Now that when we’re doing exercises, such as exercises under load is how we want to be. When we’re just standing and doing stuff, we actually always want to think about being 40% on, you know, see if we can just think if we can just squeeze our core, just as I’m talking to you now, I’m just engaging my core by about 40%. And I’m just going to keep that on all the time. Now the other thing that wants to talk about is the relevance of certain exercises that are supposedly to do the core. If we’re doing sit ups, we’re just working this front bit, we’re not doing the core itself. And we’re actually working a lot of things that aren’t the core things like the psoas and stuff like that, okay.

And also, there’s muscle exercises like the plank. Now, the plank, in itself is an exercise, it doesn’t actually have any direct transfer into your outdoor or wilderness environment. You know, if you’re just holding plank until you’re shaking, there’s better things you could be doing. And that’s things like doing stuff that actually has movement. We get people to do exercises called dead bugs. And the other thing is doing bear crawls. And really slow, knees bent and doing bear crawls along length of ground, keeping your core nice and tight and everything on, it’s fantastic! Because we’re then starting to integrate both left and right and the same movements as we did. Yes, we’re all on all fours, but we’re actually integrating the movements that we would be if we were standing erect as well. Okay, there’s other exercises as well. You can do planks where you move where you move one leg out and the opposite arm out at the same time. There’s a whole heap of things that you can do that are a load better than either doing that single plane exercise like a situp, or something that’s just non transferable in a position that we don’t find ourselves in at all, like the plank. So, that’s it my little lesson of the core. Enjoy the tin of beans. Now, if you want to know more, or if you want to know about how to effectively put core exercises into your program, just send me a message below.

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