• Jo Dyson

I need a stronger core....but what is your ‘core’?! And how are we meant to work it?

When people think about the core, they think of the ABS. But there is so much more to the central stability system of our body than just the abdominals.

The core is actually made up of a TEAM of muscles, of which the abs are just a part. The core system includes;

⭐️ the pelvic floor at the bottom, ⭐️ the respiratory diaphragm at the top, ⭐️ the abdominal wall at the front, ⭐️ and our back muscles.

The fact that the pelvic floor and diaphragm is part of our ‘core’ means that true core exercise must incorporate AND co-ordinate both pelvic floor recruitment and breathing!

It’s important to understand the pelvic floor and diaphragm work in unison, in that they rise and fall in time with each other.

The pelvic floor contracts and rises on our exhale, then it releases and drops on our inhale. This ‘work’ phase, during the exhale is when we would work the abdominal wall during movement.

We need to bring this concept into movement when trying to work the core, so it truly works the core’s not just your ABS!!!

The other big misconception around the core, pelvic floor and abs is that we should ‘engage’ them 24/7.

This idea is flawed and totally unnecessary! Muscles are not designed to be in a constant state of contraction but rather to contract and release. Gripping your abs or pelvic floor all day long is likely create a host of issues, and potentially contribute to pelvic pain, incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.

You wouldn’t try to run gripping your Quad the whole time - your leg wouldn’t work very well! Any more than your core system works if part of it is constantly working.

So if you’re an ab or pelvic floor gripper, let it go!

If you are looking to 'work your core' as part of your postnatal recovery, consider taking part in Physiotherapist led Pilates. This modified form of Pilates is ideally suited to any new Mum as it gently incorporates work of pelvic floor, tummy and breathing. All elements of the 'core system' are targeted; you will find muscles you had long since forgotten about! Exercising under the watchful eye of a Women's Health Physiotherapist ensures your class is specifically designed to meet your needs and will help move you towards strength, mobility and wellness.

I offer both a Mum & Baby class for ladies with their non-mobile babies on Thursday mornings and a Mum only class for ladies with any age children on Sundays 8-9pm. Please enquire for more details or view the website. Taking bookings now for both classes!

Thanks for reading,