This past weekend I presented at the annual Women’s Fitness Summit.
I got to coach a session to all the summit attendees speaking about core and pelvic floor basics (where we barely scraped the surface in one hour), and then was able to work with small groups on the Bonus Day more in-depth.
During the presentation I was explaining how to find your pelvic floor when breathing, by feeling your perineum – effective!
We talked about alignment, breathing, incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, how to use the core and floor when lifting weights in the 8-12 rep range vs. lifting weights in the 1-3 rep max range, low back pain, and so much more.
I wanted to give you the super, extra quick version of everything we covered. These are key things you do need to know for a strong and healthy core + floor.
In life and in exercise.
And, if you want to get a feel for my coaching style, these are all direct quotes that I said during those 2 days. Hint: it’s 100% not fancy schmancy 😉
1). “The core is made up of a top, a bottom, and stuff around it.”
Think of your ‘core’ like a soda can. There’s a top, there’s a bottom, and there’s stuff surrounding the sides.
• The top is your diaphragm.
• The bottom is your pelvic floor.
• The front and sides of the can are your abdominal muscles.
• The back of the can are your back muscles.
Most importantly, this means that your “core” is not just abdominals. It includes these other pieces of the puzzle. That’s important.
This is just one reason why crunches and kegels are not solely going to cure incontinence, back pain, or get you a strong core.
2). “Exhale and then do things.”
I talk a lot about how to breathe well in exercise and when lifting heavy things.
Although there are a few different ways I cue my clients to breathe depending on their situation and how much weight they’re lifting, this is the basic version.
If you ever get confused when you’re lifting weights or lifting in life:
Exhale and then do things.
Seriously. That’s going to be good enough.
Molly Galbraith explaining how to breathe in a glute bridge.
• If you’re about to pull a deadlift, start your exhale breath and then pull.
• If you’re about to stand up from a squat, start your exhale breath and then stand.
• If you’re going to pick your toddler up, start your exhale breath and then (try) to wrangle them.
3). “I want you to have a soft, squishy belly.”
I really do.
Not only do typical ‘Before/After’ photos guaranteeing you 6-pack abs in 6-weeks time make me crazy because it’s usually completely unrealistic for most bodies, but because I’m all RELAX YOUR BELLY THO when I see these pics.
Stop sucking your belly in all day long.
The easiest way to think about this is to imagine a blown up balloon. Squeeze the balloon in the middle. What happens?
The pressure is displaced up and down.
• Bulging Up = onto the top of your core (diaphragm). Your breathing is going to get weird to compensate.
• Bulging Down = onto the bottom of your core (pelvic organs/floor). Your pelvic floor muscles are going to do weird things to compensate.
Best group of attendees at the Women’s Fitness Summit 2016!
1). Know that crunches and kegels are not the be-all, end-all to core training.
Know that abdominals are not the only part of the core. This is why we have to look more globally to help your core be strong and function well.
2). Exhale on exertion.
When you lift in life and exercise, start your exhale breath and then do the hardest part of whatever you’re doing. Yes, there are exceptions. No, you don’t need to stress about them.
3). Relax your belly.
Let it go. Stop sucking in. Your digestion, bowel movements, abdominals, neck tension, low back pain, and pelvic floor pressure will thank you.
To put these practices into place and to build better core and pelvic floor function, start here with a 4-week (FREE) strength training program that’s fit for pregnancy and moms.