Having a strong, solid core is vital during many activities of your daily life. The core is a general term used to describe all the musculature of the lumbar-pelvic hip complex, better known as your “abs”. These muscles are responsible for many actions your body performs, but more importantly these muscles hold your body upright against the forces of gravity. Having a strong core is important in order to keep good posture during work, exercise and leisure. How do you know if you have a strong core? Easy, get into a push-up position, or a plank position. Do your hips sag? Are you able to keep your back in a straight line? These are two tell-tale signs of a weak core.
If you’ve been a patient here at FPTW long enough, you’ve probably seen a patient use the blood-pressure cuff during an exercise. We call this particular exercise lower abdominal exercise 1 (or LA #1 for short). In this exercise, the patient places the BP cuff under their low back with knees bent. The patient then flattens out their back against the table, causing an increase in the pressure reading on the barometer. Imagine having a string attached to your belly button and you’re being pulled into the floor or table. This movement should be a slight pelvic tilt, also be sure that your buttocks remains on the table or floor as well. This exercise isolates the deep abdominal muscles of the core to see if they are working correctly. If you have no problem holding this position for 10 seconds for 30 repetitions then it’s time to progress to LA #2 or perhaps LA #3.