February 20 , 2011

Anthony

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Before I post the first of our Engineered Bodies Workout of the Week Series, I wanted to discuss the importance of a strong core.  When most people think core-training, they typically think training your abs.  In other words, training for the elusive 6-pack.  There’s nothing wrong with a great 6-pack as it looks awesome but did you know you can actually have a 6-pack but have a weak core?  It’s true.

The muscles that make up your anatomical belt are:

  1. Diaphragm
  2. Pelvic Floor
  3. Lumbar Multifidi
  4. Transverse Abdominus (TVA)

The stronger your muscles are in your core, the more you can bend, lift, and perform daily activity without hurting yourself (namely your back).  There are lots of websites out there that talk about the importance of your core but I’m going to show you how to properly activate it.

Go on all fours as shown in the picture:

From here I want you to pretend that you have to pee really badly but you have to hold it.  Seriously try and visualize this.  When you’re trying to hold your pee, the muscle that is being engaged is your TVA.  It’s the deepest-most layer of your abdominal region and the one that if you can properly activate, it starts tightening up your anatomical belt.

The sensation you should feel in this quadruped position when you’re properly engaging your TVA is the feeling like your pulling your belly-button up into your stomach.

Practice holding this for 10 seconds then move to longer holds as you get more comfortable with this exercise.  Correct breathing throughout is important too.  Inhale calmly but then exhale slowly making a “hissing” sound.  This hissing will contract the other muscles in the core thus supporting your torso.  Your anatomical belt is now totally engaged.

This is challenging but very important to master.  What you want to do is contract your TVA whenever you exercise and especially when you’re lifting weights.  This will prevent injuries and enable you to train for a long time.

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