Thursday, September 2, 2010

The core

This spring (in April to be more exact) I had a wakeup. I visited a fysiotherapist for the first time in my life because the constant pains in my lower back had simply become intolerable. I had always thought there was nothing that I could do about it as they were a result of a overlymobile "loose" lower disc that was the result of a car accident in my childhood.
It was a big surprise to find out that I actually could have done something about it - there was a possibility to get rid of or at least significantly reduce the pains. Luckily it`s never too late. And all I had to do was work on my "deep core" muscles.
As a very active girl in good shape (I mean I've been lifting heavy since about 10 years ago), it came as quite a shock to learn that I had weak core muscles. I was relieved to find out it  was one of the most common reasons for lower back pains.
So for the past 5 months I`ve done 5 short ab-sessions per week after a resistance or cardio workout. 2 x weighted abs and 3 x stabilizing workouts. Plus one or two specifically corerelated workouts (30 - 60 min).
There are a few simple tricks you can use to keep your core stabilized through any workout (lifting to jogging to dancing) and in your daily life overall (sitting, standing, walking):
1) tighten your pelvic muscles (as if trying to stop peeing)
2) tilt your pelvis forward a bit (tuck in your tail).
Yes, it takes time to remember to do that and keep your core tight throughout your day, but in a while it becomes natural.

In addition to all the specific deep core targeting excercises (and there are a lot of them - your imagination is the limit), the one thing that gave me the best painrelief and best results in actually getting the muscles to strenghen noticeably was quitting the chair!
What I mean is I don`t sit on achair any more at work - I use a stability ball instead (one with a 75 cm diameter - I have longish legs).
So after 5 months I have managed to lessen the pains to about 50%.
My fysiotherapist said in the beginning that it could take a year or two to get my core in shape, so I`d say im on the right track.

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