9 Out Of 10 People…Don’t Really Know How To “Brace” Their “Core”

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As a soft tissue specialist…movement analyst…and elite performance coach…I run a neuromuscular rehabilitation clinic…fixing “Broken people.”

I also work in numerous different capacities…with a vast demographic of the general public…all the way up to the highest level of elite sports…movement…and performance.

This is a topic spoken about every single day.

You ever heard a fitness trainer say…tighten your abs…tighten your tummy…squeeze your abs…pull them in…keep the core tight?

Buzzwords…to tick boxes usually…or…a way of hiding a lack of understanding…in most instances…in my experience.

I haven’t got anything against fitness trainers…used to be one myself years ago…and…still offer advanced performance/training options…as well as corrective movement rehab to this day.

My issue is that the majority of classes and sessions worldwide…will have these buzzwords barked out and reiterated…every 10 minutes or so…but…you don’t really see many people able to actually teach what it is they are asking for.

I positively…guarantee you…that 9 out of 10 people…are either teaching it…or…doing it wrong.

I see it after it’s ended up causing a multitude of different global problems and issues…and have done it massively wrong myself in a previous life.

It’s nothing to be ashamed of…especially when we have the chance to learn and rectify.

What…does…keeping the core tight even mean?

Well…I think they mean…to keep the core…tight…is to fix and brace the spine…into a safe…functional…protected…position.(Hopefully that’s what they mean)

First things first though.

The contraction of this so called core…shouldn’t…just happen.

The way it is promoted in the fitness industry is…squeeze…and you’re set…abs tense…stomachs tight…good to go…but it doesn’t work like that…at all.

If you tighten with faulty mechanics…then your spine…is locked into those faulty mechanics…and will be stressed/loaded…through physical exercise and movement.

The reason these buzzwords piss me off…is because…unless you truly…understand physiology and locomotion…those descriptions…will have people doing the wrong thing.

They’re instructing it this way…to simplify…and gloss over…which…is a concerning problem.

Don’t worry about tightening…contracting your abs…that…comes last…and…is the least important in this chain of command…as far as the hierarchy of movement is concerned.

The spine has a top…and a bottom…doesn’t it?

Well…we have to deal with those…before we deal with anything else.

If the idea of tightening the abdominal muscles…is to fix the spine…then the spine…needs to be in the correct position before it’s fixed.

Sounds pretty logical…right?

The head is one of the heaviest areas in the body…if not the heaviest…especially when you factor in dysfunction.

We can have the weight of skin argument…but where the real devil in the detail lies…is in the fact every inch…the head moves forward…out of alignment…the compressive force on the cervical spine below it…is increased…by 100%!!!

You can’t fix…position…or align the spine…safely…functionally…if the head is forward and out of sync…it won’t happen.

Tighten your abs all you want…strengthen them all you want…but it won’t make a blind bit of difference if the head is forwards.

You’re creating structural support to a dysfunctional pattern…irregardless of what the abs are trying to do.

So let’s say….we…get the head sorted…and we’re now in beautiful alignment.

Ok…then…what’s going on at the bottom of it…literally.

The bottom…the glutes…are needed to fire and isometrically contract…to set the pelvis and spine into the correct fixed positions.

Rigidity and stabilisation.

If you don’t squeeze and fire your glutes…standing in an anatomically complimentary manner…with your head in the right position…before you tighten your abs…you can’t…and won’t…set the spine…efficiently…safely…or functionally…ever.

Once the spine is in correct alignment…top to bottom…contracting the abdominal muscles…wraps and locks that correct position…allowing us the ability to cease glute contraction…and safely move/load joints with optimal tensegrity maintained. (Try squeeze your arse as hard as physically possible…and walk or sit down)

Once those glutes have been switched off to facilitate certain movements/demands…NOW…is the point where the squeezing and tensing being spoken about…becomes relevant…as it maintains homeostasis…but…please don’t forget this my friends.

Every single time you cease or lose contraction in the abdominal muscles which you are being told to focus on…you have to start the whole bracing process again…head position…glutes…abs…otherwise…it completely defeats the point of the cue.

I haven’t gone too far into the whole core thing here…as…I don’t really know what a core is to be honest.

I don’t look at the body like that…at all…and we could be here all day dealing with external rotation of the hip and ankle alignment on top of it to name a few.

What I have given you though...is how to protect your spine through movement for life and performance.

A way to truly start maximising the efficiency of your output. (Not to mention avoiding pain and dysfunction cycles)

Neutral standing position…head in alignment…bum engaged…then tense.

Have the best day ever.

What A Day To Be Alive

Disturb the paradigm

Yesterday is Irrelevant…Tomorrow Not Guaranteed.

LEE CLEAVER

THE PIONEER OF MOVEMENT

Soft Tissue Specialist – Movement Analyst – Elite Performance Coach