In life it is nice to find something that solves multiple problems at once. These are little blessings that you must snatch up when you have the chance.
Increasing your core strength and positioning is one of these opportunities. Read on to learn about two of many ways you can benefit from extra work on your midsection.
1. A stronger back and less back pain
A strong core is your best ally against back pain. Proper bracing incorporating the diaphragm, abs, and pelvic floor creates the pressure within needed to keep the back from rounding over.
But you also need your core to be well aligned. For most athletes, you will find relief from core strengthening that reinforces a neutral spine. Sometimes that means moving away from an arched lower back. The Dead Bug and Hollow position are two good options for a neutral spine.
2. Hip and Shoulder Mobility Improvement
This one may not seem obvious at first. Usually the best long term solution to hip and shoulder stiffness is improving core function. When the relative strength of the core and hips is out of balance, the hips are not able to move as freely as they should. The hips should be a mobile set of joints and our mid section should be strong and rigid. If the trunk, or core, is not creating enough tension, the hips take up the slack. This causes the hips to be stiff instead of loose as we would like.
The core needs to be strong and well positioned for the hips to be free.
When the core is able to create the appropriate stiffness in the trunk, the hips can relax and be mobile.
1. Breathe through your nose
What we are really trying to accomplish is recruiting and strengthening the diaphragm. Breathing in through the nose is just one way of doing this. During conditioning style workouts your breathing is increased and becomes more strenuous. Adding the breath through the nose helps to ensure you are getting the most diaphragm strengthening from each breath you take.
Remember, a strong diaphragm leads to a strong back.
2. Continue with daily core work
In our group classes we regularly include a few minutes of core work at the beginning of each class. We believe it is important, and that is why we do it regularly. Use this time intentionally. If you do, you will find that you do indeed get warmed up. With consistency you will experience the benefits that come with a stronger core.
To conclude, breathing through your nose and performing regular, focused core work strengthen the diaphragm and sets you up for success. Do these things to protect your back and improve mobility.
Would you like to get started training your core? Schedule a time to see if our Butts + Guts class is right for you with a No Sweat Intro