How do I engage the core?
Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 4:37 pm
What is the difference between sucking in and engaging the core? I've read many resources on the Internet about what is the difference and had settled on to suck in only 30%, which is what I read in the article Contracting the Core Muscles by Sports Injury Clinic:
Here is their instruction on how to perform this:The correct level of activity in core muscles should be 30% of their maximum so that they have enough energy to contract continuously.
Should I engage the core during every exercise? I'd like comments and opinions.All the following movements should be carried out whilst lying on a firm surface. Bend your knees and hips so that you are lying comfortably on your back with your knees up and feet shoulder width apart. Make sure your shoulders are relaxed and concentrate on breathing into the sides of your ribcage to take emphasis off the diaphragm - try not to breath into your abdomen and not into your upper chest.
Remember to breath normally throughout all the exercises- it is common for beginners to hold their breath as they focus on contracting the core.
Core contraction technique 1
Whilst lying in the above position, imagine that a belt with10 notches is tied around your abdomen. Take a deep breath in and on exhalation visualize that the belt is being fastened up to the tenth notch. Using the above transversus palpation technique can you feel a tightening (not bulging) under your fingers? Now visualize leaving the belt off to the 3rd notch.
Core contraction technique 2
In the same position as above take a deep breath in. On exhalation focus trying to lower your belly button down towards the floor. Palpate for a contraction of the transversus. Now ease the contraction off to about 30% of its max.
The above techniques focus on contracting transversus abdominus however it is common to find these exercises difficult. The next technique is focused on contracting the pelvic floor as an alternative.
Core contraction technique 3
In the same position as above take a deep breath. On exhaling focus on 'drawing up' from the pelvic floor. Imagine that you wish to stop yourself going to the toilet however make sure you do not over use the other abdominal muscles- this would result in a 'bulge' rather that a tightening under you fingers.