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Engage Your Core the Natural Way

You can 'Google' best core exercises and get 359,000,000 options to pursue.  After looking at the first page of those listed, they all recommend the same 20 or so exercises. 


They also strongly recommend pulling in your abdominals and glutes and pressing your back to the floor while performing the core exercises. 


Below, you will see a picture of a baby.  The baby looks very happy.  Thus, the name of the exercise Happy Baby.  Just like we see the baby's legs in the air, the happy baby exercise is similar.  The difference, though, is often the instructions for performing the happy baby exercise include pulling the abdominals in, flattening the spine, and squeezing the glutes.  Notice the baby does not do any of these things while lifting its legs.

This is a very important part of natural development.  The baby is improving core control to prepare for the next developmental phases.  


When we use these cues, like pulling the abdominals in, hollowing the abdominals, or flatting the back, we stress the spine.  Usually, the lumbar spine or lower back is most impacted.  


If we look at the chart below, you can see that common core exercises like sit-ups, crunches, and supermans can put a lot of stress on the spine.

How should you activate your abdominals when exercising?

A cool thing about our bodies is that they often know what to do, and we often well-meaning override what is natural.


To active your abdominals naturally during exercise:


1. Maintain spinal alignment.

2. Use three-dimensional breathing.

3. If you cannot do 1 or 2 during an exercise, decrease the load, reps, resistance, or position change. 


This does not just apply to core exercises.  This includes all exercises.  When you maintain optimal alignment, the core muscles are set up and will engage naturally when needed.  When you use three-dimensional breathing, you are engaging the deep core muscles, whose role it is to provide stability for your spine.


In our next installment, we will examine specific exercises and demonstrate how any exercise can be a core exercise.


If you have been struggling with back issues and are doing 'core' work, and it does not seem to work for you, reach out.  

You can view the recent webinar, Going Beyond the Six-pack: Getting to Know the Deep Core Muscles, if you missed it.  You can view it here:


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