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obliques Archives | Hope Zvara s2uy5juvtzxj.hopezvara.com.
Getting to the Core of Things

Getting to the Core of Things

“Now, activate your core,” is a phrase you’re likely to hear in any fitness class, yoga included.
But I wonder, what does that mean? And does the instructor even know what that means? 
It’s been my experience teaching both students and teachers from all over the country that most people assume they’re using the core, assume they know where the core is and assume the cues they are using are helping more than hurting.

To be able to cue the core, one needs to understand why it’s so important. 

Everything is an extension of the core, and every muscle above and below eventually feeds into the core (or more specifically the pelvic floor). Muscles in the body are not separate but connected, one turning into the next.
Our body consists of layers, and our core is no different. These layers help us better understand the concept of the core being the Motherboard for all movement. And if one does not know where the Motherboard of any device is, then how will you ever be able to tweak it to operate better?
Every person needs to begin at what I know as the Local Layer. This is the permission layer. The layer of the core in which we stabilize before we mobilize.
Sadly, even in core-focused classes, this is often ignored because it’s difficult to locate, awaken and continually keep awake. It can take many sessions before someone feels confident they are using the proper muscles.
It’s important to remember that the body is an amazing piece of machinery unlike any other. If one body part can’t do what you are asking it, and then another body part will step up and try to do it for us. The problem with this is that it gives us a false idea that we are properly performing the movement.
So this local layer consists of the transversus abdominus (which is a hoop-like muscle), multifidus, diaphragm and the pelvic floor, consisting of the perineum, anal sphincter, and area surrounding the urethra (to simplify things). This is our permission layer, our layer of stability, and I like to focus here.
I created Core Functional Fitness as a way to teach people how to find and use their true core. It’s better for you and your health. You can find many other core-specific works in my Mindful Movement Premium Online Studio.
Mindful Movement Premium Online Studio

Trim Your Waistline – Outrageous Obliques

Trim Your Waistline – Outrageous Obliques

As a fitness professional for over a decade, I have pretty much seen it all. Especially when it comes to core-based exercise. When you consider trying to bring some more attention to your midsection (and your obliques), a few things are important to consider:

Core work flat on your back is out!

Think about it, how do you spend your day? Upright! So doesn’t it make more sense to work with gravity in that manner?

Focus on feeling rather than doing.

Find guides that really help you tune into not only what you should be doing, but what you should and shouldn’t be feeling. If you need somewhere to start, consider my Mindful Movement Online Studio (just $9.99/month)

Work from the inside out.

No matter what you do, everything is core work. That being said, it all starts with a conscious pelvic-core (pelvic floor muscles plus deep core muscles) contraction.

We have a deep oblique — called the internal oblique — and an external oblique. These muscles overlap each other.

We need our obliques for many things: They offer support and stability for the back and hips. When developed properly, they improve spinal support, movement and function, as well as the relationship between the rib cage and pelvis. Strength to twist, bend sideways and rotate comes a great deal from our amazing obliques.

Here is one of my favorite tributes to our famous obliques:

  1. Start in a kneeling position (be sure to pad your knees if necessary), and grab your weight (if using one).
  2. Find neutral pelvis (your pubis bone and hip bones should run parallel with the wall you are facing).
  3. Contract your pelvic-core muscles (think bathroom muscles and torso muscles, much like when you cough).
  4. Steadily extend your right leg out to the side, turning your right foot parallel to your knee. Be sure to anchor your foot into the floor.
  5. Holding your weight in front of your chest, draw your elbows wide and relax your shoulders.
  6. Inhale, tip to the left as far as you can control, without folding in your left hip.
  7. Exhale, feel your waist (obliques) carry you back up with control. You should not feel any downward pressure into your pelvic floor when you lift (remember to keep those muscles strong).
  8. Repeat this process 10 times on each side. After you have repeated this on both sides, go back to your weaker side and complete the process again for a 2-to-1 ratio (weaker to stronger). If the weight creates too much tension work, do this exercise without added weight in front and instead hold opposite elbows with your forearms at chest height.

 

Here are some more resources on firing up your obliques!

Fire Up The Obliques With The Ring Of Fire

Get your Arms and Obliques Beach Body Ready — Oblique Lift & Lower

Better Obliques with Stretch and Strengthen

Oblique Jump Start, a Journey into the Real Core!

Arms & Obliques Oh’ My with Side Plank Lift & Lower

 

Have fun and keep at it!

 

 

This post was originally published on Nature’s Pathways, and updated on 10/4/19.

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