You may have been told by a professional that if you strengthen your core, it will help with your pain or discomfort. You may do core exercises in hopes of having a leaner-looking midsection.
Despite your reason for doing core exercises, consider the quote above.
Before we can think of the outside appearance, as the above quote suggests, we must first want to understand the foundation, which is deeper than the eye can see.
There are several core muscles below the superficial six or eight-pack that we can visually see. Today we will consider the one that if it does not function correctly, nor will much else in our body.
The diaphragm muscle is a round dome-shaped muscle located deep inside your trunk, separating your upper body (thorax) from your abdominal area. It sits inside your rib cage and attaches to your ribs, breastbone, and spine. It is the primary muscle of respiration. When you inhale, it flattens, returning to a dome shape as you exhale.
The mechanism of movement helps:
draw air into your lungs - giving flexibility to your rib cage
move and massage your abdominal organs
create pressure in your abdomen to support your spine
Think of your diaphragm as one of your deepest core muscles.
This critical muscle is often overlooked when we receive advice to strengthen our core.
Traditional core exercises, like crunches, planks, bird dogs, supermans, etc., tend to focus on the superficial abdominal and back muscles.
The diaphragm blends through fascia into other deep core muscles (transverse abdominus, psoas, and pelvic floor).
Training the diaphragm to work efficiently through three-dimensional breath training will help build a sustainable core system. This blending helps build the deep core system down to our hips.
Once you can breathe three-dimensionally, you will add resistance or load to your core exercises.
We highly recommend avoiding cues for exercise or posture that encourage you to hold your abdominals in, squeeze your glutes, lift your chest or chin, or pull your shoulders down or in. Each of these cues makes it harder to breathe three-dimensionally. Once you stop breathing correctly, you begin to take away your stability.
If you are a bodybuilder or Olympic lifter or find yourself lifting a large, heavy object, you may brace your core to move the heavy weight for that specific task and that task only.
The key to maximizing your core training is to train core muscles for what they should do. The diaphragm and the muscles it blends make up your deep core muscle system. Incorporate three-dimensional breathing as the basis for all exercises. It will provide stability for your spine, trunk, and hips and make every exercise a core exercise.
If you have questions about how to breathe correctly, tend to be a chest breather, a belly breather, hardly a breather...reach out. We can help. Let's chat and brainstorm about your goals. We would love to explore how we could help you!
When you learn to breathe well, your body will love it!