There has been much emphasis on the concept of building core strength over recent years; it’s a concept that is incomplete to me. I see the key issue is actually core energy not core strength: I will explain.
The “core” refers to the lower part of the body: the pelvis, the lower back, the abdominal wall, and the diaphragm, and this region’s ability to stabilise the body during movement. Every activity we do in life, from running to swallowing, is more efficient when we have a stable and yet flexible core. It’s a dynamic stability that involves a balance of movement and strength of our connective tissue: our bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and the matrix of connective tissue that interconnects them.
It’s more about how you can use your energy than about your strength.
Try sitting in a slouched position and taking a sip of a drink and swallowing, notice your inner feelings. Next sit in an upright and relaxed posture (engaging your core) and have another sip. Observe the difference in how you feel between the two postures. While you may feel stronger and more energetic (and perhaps that the drink “went down” better) in the upright posture, you didn’t strengthen your core but simply used its current strength more efficiently. That is, it was more about energy than strength.
Because the core muscles and other connective tissue components are being used every day to maintain posture and for activities – sitting, walking, breathing, digesting etc.; they are already as strong as they need to be. My experience is that when people are told that they have a lack of core strength (“a weak core”), the problem isn’t weakness in their core muscles but the fact that these muscles and other aspects of the connective tissue matrix are too tight!
It is a fact that a tight core is weaker than a core that is relaxed.
It is a fact that a tight core is weaker than a core that is relaxed. Many people advising on exercise recommend exercises to “strengthen the core”. There are two problems with this: putting exercise strain on already tight muscles causes them to become even tighter and it focuses on the muscles when the main restriction may well be in the connective tissue matrix.
Muscle building exercises put more stress into the core and can increase the stresses on other pelvic and abdominal structures, e.g. vertebral discs and the pelvic and abdominal organs. This can have a negative effect on the function of these organs and discs. Stress or trauma can become even more embedded when working these already tight tissues.
So how do the core muscles become too tight?
So how do the core muscles become too tight? These muscles and the rest of the connective tissue matrix react strongly (often without people noticing) to the stresses we experience throughout our lives. The cause of the stresses can be physical, emotional, mental or chemical.
Think of what happens to the muscles in your pelvic region when you have a sudden fear. Try it: tense your body in the way you would if you were experiencing fear and notice the parts of body where you feel that tension. For most people the tension is mainly noticed in the upper body, neck and shoulders. Tense your body again and take particular notice of the way the deep muscles in your abdomen and pelvis tighten. This lower body tightening is often not noticed by the person experiencing the stress.
So how can we release this deep set tension? Rather than putting more effort into an already “stuck” core (there is high energy stuck there that we cannot access) with strengthening exercises, we need to use methods to connect to and relax the tension.
The Network Chiropractic and Matrix Repatterning techniques that I use are an efficient and effective way to achieve that release and gain the extra energy and better body and organ function that is denied because of deep tension.
As this release occurs you will be able to further improve the dynamic stability of your core with Pilates and yoga sessions and other forms of exercise. Meditation is another component to making the connections you desire to enhance your energy and posture. As the result of these changes you will also experience benefits in other aspects of your life.