A Hidden Gem For Core Training

Updated: Nov 12, 2020

I have always been intrigued by breathing mechanics and how they impact efficiency in everyday movement and athletic performance. It led me to learning about core training to help my female 40+ clients understand pressure management on the abdominal wall and pelvic floor. It turns out that the pelvic floor is a base of the core and diaphragm is the top of the core team (see picture below). Therefore, connecting these two major parts influence my current approach to core training.

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In my training with Dr. Sarah Duvall, she emphasized that restoring breathing is a number one step in core training to stop the leaks (sneeze pee) and close a gap (diastasis recti). Restoring a connection between the respiratory and pelvic floor diaphragm with a 3-dimensional breathing allows a more advantageous positioning for the abdominal wall to do its job of spinal stability and managing pressure.

Yes, working on breathing can be boring unless there is a better understanding why we are focusing on restoring breathing and how it could help us gain more strength, better stability, and more interesting and creative workouts and movements.

After restoring the core breath, I love adding a balloon blowing in mine as well as my as well as my clients’ workouts and movement practices. It becomes more challenging but at the same more fun. Before progressing to the balloon blowing addition, we need to be sure that there are no signs of improper pressure management by implementing a wrong core strategy.

What are the signs of improper pressure management?

  • Downward pressure on the pelvic floor (bearing down)

  • Outward and upward pressure of the abdominal organs (see a pic below)

  • Breath holding while moving or lifting

  • Lower belly pooching

In the video below, I am demonstrating a movement practice with a focus on breathing while moving. Adding a balloon blowing is like adding an advanced strength training to a diaphragm. The respiratory diaphragm is a muscle and just like every muscle could benefit from a balanced strength training. As I am moving through this sequence, I am focusing on exhaling and blowing a balloon. You can see that it is getting bigger with each exhale.

Some points to pay attention to in the video flow

  • Maintain a canister alignment (rib cage over pelvis)

  • Slight pelvic tuck without excessive rounding in the upper back

  • Exhale out blowing a balloon and maintain ab tension as you inhale

  • Move with control and keep breathing

  • No bulging, bearing down or excessively pulling navel to spine

I would say that was my best yoga-inspired practice because I was present with each breath. I was feeling strong and supported with my core team. It was fun!!!!

Be Strong! Be Able! Be Well!

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