At The Core Of It

*Please note this post contains affiliate links, all are products I own and use

Ok back to a subject I love.

Squats.

Lunges.

Planks.

Ooh ahh… Deadlifts.

Arguably the best things you can do to stabilize your core.

Well there’s more to it, but as I touched on in my Self Care post, stop doing kegels. Here’s why[1].

This will be a several part not-a-pro series on why core strengthening is important, and how to apply it to life and running (especially if you’re a mother runner). Today is just dipping our toes in the water to gain an understanding of the core.

*note there are affiliate links to products I use and I also reference other blogs/YouTube videos, all which I use and support!*

Thanks to our culture of working ourselves to death at a desk and sedentary entertainment (Netflix and chill for 48 hours?), most people have pelvic floor dysfunction and/or hip dysfunctions (narrowed, tight etc.). We also have a much higher rate of cardiovascular disease. Sitting is literally killing you[2].

Good nutrition is also key but that’ll be another series.

Here is a good article on what your “core[3]” consists of.

Good Core Diagram from Ripped N Fit-http://www.rippednfit.com/fitness/your-abs-explained

A stable core has more benefit than just athletics, a stable core benefits your overall balance and helps to equalize the load you put on your joints.  It also helps condition our body. You know how you ‘tweak’ your back, or ‘pull something’ in your knees lifting heavy furniture, boxes etc.? Core strengthening works to help you distribute the weight to avoid strains. Want to be able to chase your kids up trees and through those weird twisty tunnels at indoor amusement parks? Have you tried the monkey bars as an adult on the playground (uhh or is that just me…)? Core strength.

Also, (in a HEALTHY pregnancy where exercise is greenlight go from your caregiver) it can help make pregnancy and childbirth easier and your recovery much faster. Here’s a good article[4] on that. For Micro heathen consistent strength training during my pregnancy paid off. He was my fastest (sub 3 hour total labor!), easiest birth and quickest recovery. Not to mention the positive influence exercise had on my mental well being and heart rate/blood pressure. He rocketed out like a bowling ball. Thankfully we’d planned a home birth lol (we’ll do a future post highlighting his birth and why I’m a huge proponent of informed choices in birth).

My BFF <3

Core strengthening should be done dynamically and with compound movements. Gone are the days of sweat bands and leg warmers while you did approximately 600 crunches. Those crunches will strengthen only about a tenth of your actual core. Dynamic moves use several motions that force you to engage your muscles. They will also frequently throw you off balance, just enough to prompt your core to engage. You’re ‘tricking’ those muscles into working. I love Body Fit By Amy’s YouTube channel. She does a fantastic job of explaining the importance of being off balance, and moving all your muscles even if you are focusing on a specific set. I use her kettlebell and some body weight only videos nearly exclusively. This is my favorite kettlebell, the plastic ones tend to be too big and awkward and hard to grab ‘by the horns’. Here Body Fit By Amy has a series of instructional videos that I found very helpful.

So to wrap up:

  • Everyone needs a stable core
  • Sitting might be killing you
  • Ladies stop with the kegels, squat it out
  • Focus on Dynamic moves
    • Kettlebell Windmills
    • Side Planks with leg lifts
    • Goblet Squats/Wood Chop Squats
    • And many more! Body Fit By Amy does a great job with her videos!

What information about core stability and pelvic floor health would you like to know more about? What does your current regiment (if any) consist of? Are you a core-pro, a well read amateur (le moi) or like ‘core what?’?

Here are part 2 and 3 in the series.

Keep an eye on my Mother Runner Pinterest board also!

 

Best xo

*Please note: I am in no way a professional, I do seek out professionals and have done extensive reading on the subject. I have footnoted this post so you can have a jumping off point for your own research.

 

[1] Breaking Muscle – Stop Doing Kegels: Real Pelvic Floor Advice For Women (and Men) https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/stop-doing-kegels-real-pelvic-floor-advice-for-women-and-men

[2] Mayo Clinic- What are the risks of sitting too much? http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/sitting/faq-20058005

[3] Breaking Muscle- Do You Know What Your Core Really Is and What it Does? https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/do-you-know-what-your-core-really-is-and-what-it-does

[4] Be Fit Mom- Strength and Core Conditioning During Pregnancy http://www.befitmom.com/strength-training-during-pregnancy.php

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