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‘Engaging’ your core or just 'sucking' in?

There are a lot of instructions to engage your core like ‘belly button to spine’ or ‘draw abs in’ that I don’t think are overly helpful as it encourages you to suck in rather than involve and contract all parts of the core - including your pelvic floor and lower, mid to upper transverse abdominus (TVA) - that deep core muscle that wraps round you like a corset.

A lot of women tend to cinch in around the upper abs and either completely leave the pelvic floor and and lower TVA out of the picture or there is minimal contraction in those areas. But doing this can actually push down on the pelvic floor (we don’t want that) and cause more of a lower belly pooch - often the very thing you want to get rid of.

In this short video I try and show the difference between sucking in and then working with the breath to try and get a more even contraction through the deep core muscles. I’m by no means perfect (I’m an upper ab gripper by default) and I also don’t feel overly comfy being there all exposed in my sports bra - like I’ve made many of you do in the past. But if it helps you then I’m willing to do it!

So have a watch and also observe yourself in the mirror. Can you see the difference between when you ‘suck in’ versus using your breath and starting with your pelvic floor first?

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