Is your “core” engaged?

Embarking upon a physical routine is easy for some and seemingly impossible for others.  The desire for change has to be present for any type of challenge or behavior, but for most the ability to grasp what the body actually needs to accomplish comes with a bit of exploration and education.  It is difficult to find any gym, work out, or physical activity that does not require the use of the “core”.  While this term is thrown around constantly it is something else learning to use and understand what it feels like to the have the “core engaged”. 

While the “core engagement” is held as the golden standard, for many this engagement is a desire to find the elusive “six pack”.  The abdominal muscles are the source of this look, but are more importantly integrated into overall body movement/stabilization as well as functioning of the internal organs of the abdomen and chest cavities.    

 There are four muscle groups that comprise the abdomen.  These muscles work in conjunction allowing bending, twisting, and aid with breathing, not to mention holding organs in their respective positions.  The various groups extend from the bottom of the front of the rib cage down to the top of the pubic bone and from side to side.  This is a huge group that literally blankets the entire abdominal area. 

These muscles are responsible for “core engagement”.   The dilemma comes when trying to fully activate and utilize these muscle fibers. The fully range and strength of the muscles are often unknown and when wanting to engage these bands the body often has no point of reference and in turn no activation.  This can lead to numerous problems that range from back issues to decreased overall mobility. 

To help resolve this lack of information the brain must start to recognize where the muscles begin and end.  This can easily be done by touching the muscle fibers while holding ones breathe and “pushing” the stomach out.  This action will start to activate the muscle group. By moving ones fingers up and down the muscle fibers, the length of the muscle will start to be apparent.  This does require the moving of adipose or fat out of the way for many.  But rest assured the muscle fibers are present and the more awareness is brought to their general existence the greater they can be used on a day to day basis.