Do Planks and Sit-ups Strengthen your Deep Core?
The answer is……it depends
It all depends on your breath. If you are holding your breath by bracing through your abdomen or your ribs while doing these exercises, your deep core will not get stronger. If you practice bracing and holding your breath, you will get better at bracing and holding your breath!
In order to access your deep core, you need to allow it to RESPOND to the demands placed upon it. Anticipatory bracing of your surface muscles essentially blocks out the deep core. It doesn’t even get the chance to respond.
One way to minimize the blocking out, thereby allowing the deep core to respond, is to notice your breath while you are doing your planks and sit-ups. Can you do these exercises in a way where you do not need to hold your breath? In a way that you can continue to breathe easily in and out as you hold your plank?
When you are able to breath in and out, the surface muscles of your torso cannot be bracing. You will have the opportunity to experience responsive deep core stability. This stability feels easier, more efficient, lighter. If you practice easy, light, efficient core stability – you will feel more ease, more efficient, lighter!
Noticing how your torso moves to generate your breath is a powerful tool in building core strength and stability. Below I share one of the The Movement Experience Lab’s yoga practices where I guide you towards noticing how your torso breathes for you.
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