What is Core Stability? How will it help me? How do I get it?
Core Stability is the ability to control the position and movement of the Central Portion of the Body.
Core Stability targets the muscles deep within the abdomen which connect the Spine, Pelvis and Shoulders and maintain good posture, providing the foundation for all Leg and Arm movements.
The Core Stability System involves one main muscle called the Transverses Abdominus (TA). This is a muscle deep in the abdomen which runs between the hip bones at each side of the abdomen. See the diagram.
Common symptoms of Core INstability are:
- Sudden jolts of pain in the back when performing a trivial or “easy” activity like tying your shoelaces or pulling on your socks.
- Difficulty in returning to vertical from bending forwards.
- A sudden catch of pain on return to vertical from bending.
- A severe pain with a “giving way” feeling in one leg.
Core INstability frequently gets mis-diagnosed by Doctors as Slipped Discs and/or Sciatica. If you are in any doubt get checked out by a good Physiotherapist.
Core Muscles do not need to be powerful. It is only necessary to tense these muscles by 25 – 30% of their maximum potential for the best effect. To get this to work you need to carry out and Abdominal Hollowing Technique.
HOW TO DO THE HOLLOWING TECHNIQUE:
- Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat to the floor.
- There should be a small gap between your lumbar (lower) spine and the floor. This is the Neutral Position.
- Put two fingers of each hand on your hip bones and then move them up and then in towards your stomach by about an inch.
- Breathe in DEEPLY and RELAX your stomach muscles as you do so (tummy goes up and out).
- Breathe out SLOWLY and draw your lower abdomen (your tummy) in and keep drawing it in as if you want to get your belly button to touch the floor beneath you. You should be able to feel the TA contracting under your fingers but don’t be put off if you cannot at this stage.
- Hold the contraction for 10 seconds and then release (don’t forget to breathe!).
- Repeat this 10 times.
- When you first start always use your fingers for feeling for the tension in the TA muscle.
- DO NOT contract the muscle too violently.
- DO NOT tilt your pelvis or flatten your back to the floor.
- DO NOT hold your breath.
- Try to do this as often as you can when you first start.
Once you have mastered this technique (which can take from one session to a month depending on the individual) you can try it in different postures, ie., sitting, standing and walking. It will soon become second nature for you to move about with your tummy pulled in and your TA working.
But you have to do this ALWAYS to maintain the TA’s efficiency and avoid any of the pain referred to earlier.