One of the first things we teach during a consultation is how to engage the core muscles. This is a fundamental part of any core strengthening work and can be easily applied to everyday activities, enabling you to use these muscles as a foundation for movement and perform functional exercise throughout the day.
1. Lie on your back with bent knees and feet flat on the floor
2. Locate the top of your hip bones, walk your fingers diagonally down a few centimetres and press in
3. Cough and feel the muscles contract. It’ll feel like it’s pushing your fingers out
4. Cough again and this time, try to hold the contraction for a few seconds, then relax
5. Repeat step 4 but this time, think about keeping the back of your rib cage pressed into the floor at the same time
6. Repeat step 5, counting to 10 out loud whilst holding the contraction
7. Practice, practice, practice
This technique is pretty tricky and does take lots of practice to master. It’ll feel quite unnatural at first and you’ll need to do it quite a few times before you get the hang of breathing whilst holding the contraction but carry on with the counting out loud and it’ll click eventually.
The idea is that once you know how to engage, you can use this technique to protect and strengthen your back whenever you lift, be it a weight in the gym, a small child or a full kettle for your morning cuppa.