This Move Can Help You to Train Like an Olympic Athlete
August 9, 2012 By: Lynne Brick
The Olympic athletes are amazing! Their strength, endurance, flexibility, balance and overall prowess inspires me. Do they inspire you? Do you ask, “How did she do that? How can he or she compete at that level? What does it take to be 1 one-hundredths of a second faster?”
There is one move that each Olympic athlete must do in order to be successful at their sport. There is one move that every college, high school, recreational athlete or “weekend warrior” must do to be able to run faster, jump higher, swim more efficiently or experience success with their activity. What is that one move? Brace your core.
Bracing your core is essential to stabilize your back, support your spine as well as help your arms and legs do the work they need to engage in any physical activity. This includes walking, dancing, holding a plank position or even aqua aerobics in the pool. In other words, bracing your core is essential because all moves start from a strong stabilized core. Your instructor or trainer may often tell you to brace your core. Here’s a three step process to help you understand how to brace your core:
Step 1: Find your natural spine. Natural or neutral spine is a term commonly used in pilates. It means discovering what is a natural position for your lower spine based on your hips and back. Tilt or extend your hips back as far as you can. Then tilt your hips forward as far as you can. Your natural or neutral spine is somewhere in the middle.
Step 2: Activate your transverse abdominals. Your transverse abdominals are positioned “east and west.” They lie across your belly. When they are activated, they will be isometrically contracted. That means they hold a fixed or static contraction. It’s that “labor and delivery” feeling or that “constipated” feeling. When your transverse is activated it is more challenging to breathe.
Step 3: Use measurement. Place your middle fingers at the top of your hip bones (iliac crest) and your thumbs at the bottom of your rib cage. In your natural spine with your transverse abdominals activated, feel the space between your thumbs and your fingers. Use that as a guide whenever your move.
Follow this three step process to brace your core. A braced core will not only help protect your back and other muscles in your body, it will help you train like an Olympic athlete!
You Go Girl!
Lynne Brick, RN
Thought for the day: “Mind your matter. Because if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter!”