“I need to strengthen my core muscles” – I’ve heard it from about 93% of my patients at some point.
Let’s discuss your core muscles. It is a term that I think gets misused frequently or thrown around as some sort of buzz word. But if someone says, “You need to strengthen your core” your response should be, “Which muscle?”
If you’ve been into my office, there is a chance that you’ve heard some variation of my “Your core is like a can of soup” analogy before I’ve ever prescribed core strength exercises. If not, you need to, so here it goes. Your core muscles need to be like a can of soup. The top of the can is your diaphragm, the bottom of the can is your pelvic floor and the sides of the can are your transverse abdominal muscles, oblique muscles, your spine and your rectus abdominus muscles. Are you picturing it?
Now I want you to picture a soup can made out of different materials. Picture first a normal soup can with the entire can made out of stable material on all parts. Next, imagine the top and the bottom of the soup can are made out of the usual metal and instead of metal sides, they decided to just use the paper label. Third, picture a soup can where the the sides are made out of the normal steady material and the bottom (Or the top) of the soup can is made out of something like a plastic grocery bag material.
The first one is great for stacking, rolling, moving and generally works well in all situations. The second soup can might be able to hold up the soup can on its own and maybe contain the contents of the can, but if you attempt to stack anything on top of it, forget it! The whole thing will collapse. Now picture the third can. where the sides are solid, but the top or the bottom are not stable. you can probably sit the can upright without a problem, but you cant pick the can up and move it around very safely. (Imagine if the can was filled with liquid – for example your bladder, and you wanted to move this particular soup can! Uh Oh!)
Does this make sense? If the ENTIRE soup can isn’t stable, then there is no way you can do everything you need your can to do without some problem somewhere. Now here is the difficult part. How do we know what part truly needs work??
This is where myself and many other practitioners enter the picture. We need your history, your previous treatments, your surgeries(Including C-sections!) and scars, your daily routine, every detail about you to help you figure out where, when, how and what EXACTLY you need to be doing to “strengthen your core.” Then and ONLY then can I give you an adequate prescription.
As always, I hope you learned something and if you have any questions, let’s set up an appointment and we can see if we can help you!