When I mention the word core, I am often met with groans of discouragement. “Oh, I know I don’t do enough”, is the most frequent comment. But, too much focus on abdominal strength can interfere with your body’s natural ability to support all of your joints and ease in your movement. Although the core needs to be stable; it also needs to be responsive.
So, how do you know if your focus on core strength is interfering with your ability to move?
Here a few clues:
- You constantly need to stretch your hips: too much abdominal work can make the movement of your pelvis too stable causing constriction in the hips. Stretching can relieve the tightness temporarily, but the long term fix is to make sure your whole pelvis has the right balance between stability and mobility.
- You have awkward or clumsy movement: Maybe you have seen the over developed body builder who can barely make a motion on the dance floor? When any muscles are worked too much they forget how to relax. The consequence? You feel and move more like a stack of blocks than your cat.
- Your spine doesn’t move when you breathe: Your spine is meant to move with your breath. This protects and nourishing your nerves. Tighten what ever you think of as your core and see if it prevents motion in your back. If so you may be creating unnecessary tension in your nervous system.
- You notice problems with too tight or too loose a pelvic floor. Some Yoga and fitness approaches count the pelvic floor as part of the core. ( depending on the school of thought core can also include surface spinal muscles, the illio-psoas or just the abdominal). Advocates of core pelvic floor training often advocate strength without recognizing too much contraction in these deep muscles create tension and weakness. Paradoxically, strength can lead to prolapse!
You can have pain -free, supportive and protective support from your core by finding your natural, sequential movement. Approaching your body from this vantage point helps you find just the right amount of core strength so you can be strong AND let go of overwork, strain or worry that you don’t do enough!
Want to find to find out more? I am offering an 8 week course that will give you what you need to know to have pain free and supportive movement from your center. Join me!