Two Exercises to Improve Your Core

Dr. Ben Coupe
Exercise

November 08, 2016




Most people are aware that good core strength is important for their body. Whilst this is true our opinion takes into account other factors when measuring core stability. This post looks at what core strength really means and goes through two exercises that are a good starting point.

Defining core strength has its own challenges as there’s a lot of varied opinion. I like this definition – “core strength should be considered as an ability to control the position and movement of the core.” Simple and direct, if a person has greater core stability, they have a greater level of control over the position and movement of this area of their body.

Let me make it clear that I believe core strength does matter. What is often overlooked when assessing core is structural stability through correct skeletal alignment. Whilst many practitioners heavily advocate core strengthening exercises, there is a lack of attention on correct skeletal alignment and how that impacts your core stability.

For example I regularly see patients that have an inability to sit up from a lying position without using their arms, then after a low back adjustment immediately achieve it with no fuss. For this to be possible says that skeletal alignment must have some impact on ability to brace and move through certain positions, i.e. core strength. I have also tested people in a plank position and observed how much easier they were able to hold form post an adjustment. This says to me a good core can’t all be about strengthening muscles.

However I do observe that those who have solid core muscles seem to have an ability to manage their poor skeletal alignment more effectively.

core exercise in the gym. crossfit fitness women

Essentially I see core muscle strength as important for maintaining your skeletal alignment and helping to compensate more effectively when you have imbalanced skeletal alignment.

Let’s get into that a little deeper. The reason why it can help maintain your alignment is in how you move. Those that have weak core muscles will tend to be lazy and use leverage to help move their body. Rather than holding strong through the core when lifting or bending you hang off your bones to leverage the object up. Think of picking an object off the floor with a rounded low back using little to no effort to brace and support your body through the movement. This increases the likelihood of skeletal misalignment and the potential problems that result. Many reading this will have had experience with immediate pain from doing this, even with a very light object.

The other benefit of strong core muscles is that you’re able to compensate better. When a bone gets pulled out of alignment (and you don’t have a muscle that can self correct this) your body will need to compensate by using other muscles to shift your overall posture into a more stable position. This helps manage imbalance and keeps you from being in real trouble. You’re now worse off but at least you can continue functioning. The better you’re able to effectively use those muscles (i.e.strong core muscles) the more you can effectively stabilize the imbalance. This will work to a point but eventually no matter how strong you are, the compensations will build and you will have pain and /or dysfunction.

We know that ABC™ is able to improve and ultimately stabilize your skeletal alignment. This is the crux of getting a body well. Adding on a strong core is going to make you more stable both structurally and symptomatically.

It is important to note that core exercises should take into account more than just the abs like most people think. I’ll go through two basic, yet effective exercises that are a great starting point. They are the hollow hold and front support.

I have included a link to videos from a group called Peak Gymnastics. I recently attended a seminar from this instructor and it was fantastic. The videos are only seconds long but show excellent form of how to perform these exercises and thus are a great reference.

Front Support (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lkKndMdP3E)

This video shows a front support position. Keys to notice are;

Hollow Hold (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lbf3l8Qbv8o)

This is the hollow hold. Keys to notice are;

Always train in good form for best results and to avoid injury.

This whole routine can take as little as 5 minutes. If you integrate this into you daily routine you should notice great improvements over time.

If any of these create any pain or discomfort then please let your chiropractor know so we can advise alternatives.

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At Melbourne City Chiropractic we focus on structural/postural correction. Specifically, we utilise a structural corrective technique called Advanced Bio-Structural Correction™. ABC™ is a ‘manual’ or ‘hands-on’ style of chiropractic. Its protocol involves meningeal stretches and spinal, pelvis, hip, knee, feet and rib adjustments.

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