The Best Core Exercises Women Are Probably Not Doing
There are many exercises recommended to strengthen the core but did you know that proper breathing is top of the list?
The best core exercise you’ve never heard of is The Core Breath. The inner core is made up of the pelvic floor, the breathing diaphragm, the transversus abdominis, as well the little muscles along our spine called the multifidus. These 4 partners work in synergy all day long and play a role in a lot of functions we take for granted. Things like our continence, our pelvic and spinal stability, our organ support and even our sexual response.
When people think of core training they often think of planks, crunches, leg raises and maybe bird dogs… and it's true…much of your core is involved in these activities. What is often overlooked or not considered is the role of the pelvic floor in core training and how crucial it is to our long-term core function.
The pelvic floor is the foundation of the core and when functioning optimally, it is involved in a constant dance with the diaphragm with each breath. Training the inner core unit harnesses the relationship between the pelvic floor and diaphragm and improves overall core function.
The Core Breath looks simple but it is often very challenging for people because it involves coordination and activating a part of the body that most have never even thought about. The Core Breath is really a more functional approach to a kegel. Kegels are a voluntary activation and relation of the pelvic floor muscles. When the breath is added to the kegel, it becomes an incredibly powerful core exercise.
Sometimes a weak core can lead to bad balance, inability to stand long, poor posture, weakness, pain in the lower back, and short breath. That is why the first exercise women are probably not doing and should be, is the Core Breath.
To learn the most effective way to do the Core Breath, you can work with one of our trained professionals in teaching the Core Breath properly and effectively.
Yoga is a great way to build and maintain a strong core. Here are a few exercises to gain a strong core. You will need a yoga mat for comfort. And for each, repeat the whole exercise at least 5 times each to start and gradually increase the number of reps. Begin by holding each for 10 seconds, then gradually increase this to at least a minute or more.
Get on your knees and hands on your mat. Take some slow breaths to start. Inhale for a count of 4 then exhale for a count of 6 or 8.
- Cow Stretch - Inhale as you look up and feel a gentle arch in your back and imagine your sitz bones spreading wide apart from one another. Hold for 5-10 seconds, then release gently and exhale into cat.
- Cat Stretch - Exhale and curl your pelvis underneath you while engaging your pelvic floor and imagine pushing the ground away with your hands and feel a hunch in your upper back while looking between your legs. Hold for 5-10 seconds, then release gently into cow again.
Crouching hip dips
Start on your hands and knees like you were in cat cow. Exhale to engage your pelvic floor as you lift your knees and twist your lower body to dip one hip down to the floor. Inhale to expand and return to the start. Repeat on the other side. See images below or watch the demo here
- Hover Hip Dip - To make it a little harder, keep your knees off the ground the entire time.
Stand straight. Then spread your legs apart so that the left foot faces forward and the right foot faces rightward and away from you. Lift your arms up toward the ceiling. Now lean sideways toward your right. Lower your right arm to rest on your right ankle or shin. Keep your left arm facing up toward the ceiling. Hold this pose for about 10 seconds. Release slowly. Then do it for the other side also. Gradually increase the time to between 30 seconds and 1 minute.
Lie on your belly. Inhale then exhale to engage then lift your torso and arms off the mat. Hold for at 5 seconds and then lower back down on the inhale.
Starting on hands and knees. Inhale to expand then exhale to engage and lift your left arm and right leg off the ground and extend them away from one another. Inhale and return to start. Repeat on the other side.
Start in kneeling with a small ball or weight in your hands held at your chest. Inhale to expand then exhale to engage, then lean back keep your torso long and not hingeing at the hips. Inhale as you return to start. You can also try exhaling and holding the exhale and pelvic floor engagement for the entire motion, back and return to start.
The Core Breath combined with already great core exercises can help improve balance, improve your posture, and improve your pelvic floor and overall health.
For more information contact one of our professionals with the attached form
They can suggest exercises and programs that will help you strengthen your core.