Skip to main content

Core Breath 101- the foundation

Here is a field report I wrote on core breath. I am posting it here for the clients who have been geeking out with me on core rehabilitation, and for anyone else who has interest in the practical application of core function. I am going to post this in installments bc it is so long.....

Core Breath as Applied to Advanced Exercise- Pfilates & Beyond
Not JUST for your pre and postnatal clients!

This is a current field report of Core breath and Pfilates as applied to advanced strength training. I have been practicing both core breath and pfilates for over a year.  The application of the exercises to my client’s programs has given me a lot of feedback and insight into their functionality.

Retraining core function is a process of mastery. With cues through exercise we retrain the core to function autonomously, supporting not only advanced exercise but also everyday meaningful movement and activities.

  • It all begins with core breath:

I work with many pre and postnatal clients and therefore have a fundamental focus on core function and strength. As a certified Pfilates instructor I have had tremendous success with the program in the field, but before I can introduce Pfilates I must ensure that my client can perform a proper pelvic floor release and contraction. Therefore it all begins with the core breath.

Hypertonic- Focus on release:
My experience is that 95% of my clients are hypertonic. I believe this is due to the stress of supporting a pregnancy and the subsequent “tucking under” that inevitably results postnatally. Women are inclined to offset the imbalance of postnatal injury by holding everything “in”, seemingly “flattening” their bellies by tucking with a posterior tilt, resulting in a hypertonic pelvic floor. When we begin core breath, the focus is on posture with a slight anterior pelvic tilt for maximum inhalation, followed by the ability to release the pelvic floor with that inhalation. I begin with the seated position (on a stability ball ideally) for posture. This often takes a week or 2 to master.

PFM Contraction- Form, ROM and Diastasis Recti:
Once a client can connect with the PFM release we progress to the contraction. I typically begin in the seated position and my focus is on slow with ROM only to engage the transverse. This is especially important for clients with a diastasis recti. We know that internal obliques will approximate a diastasis but/and open the ribs. The problem with approximation through IO is that the linea alba is not strengthened and becomes subsequently very deep although the recti are close. Once the IO are disengaged the DR opens up again. This is very frustrating to a client who has worked hard for apparent results. Compound this with the fact that many of us are already oblique dominant AND the safe/effective exercises for strengthening with a DR have oblique focus- it exacerbates an imbalance that can result in a hindering of rehabilitation and core function, resonating to the PFM!  If I perform my PFM too quickly I can almost skip the TVA entirely before the IO come on.

Inversely, clients may “pick up the bean” initiating the movement from the transverse and not the PFM. I cue them to be mindful that they use their vagina to grab the bean, without pulling their navel in. They then lift slowly up inside until their navel moves. I suggest they spot the navel lightly with one finger to feel when it pulls in. If they are struggling to connect with the ROM I may have them “step” the lift up to their TVA, and possibly “step” it back down again.

Focusing on proper form is essential. Side lying core breath is 201 in my program and allows the client to begin spotting their PFM/TVA/IO contractions and control the movement to perfect form. I put focus on slow controlled execution of the core breath in this phase of the program- it all begins with the diaphragm. Do not contract your PFM until the exhalation has begun, and this is a nanosecond!
*I would like to interject that I rehabbed my own DR with Tupler not knowing any of this. I did suffer imbalances in PFM and thorax mobility.

That's the 101's.... stay tuned for more advanced application of core breath!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

I don’t have a Diastasis- Why is my abdomen still distended postpartum?

I get asked this question all the time! Here is my answer:
Research has shown that 100% of pregnant women will develop some degree of diastasis recti. A diastasis is a lateral separation in the abdominal wall between the recti or “six pack”, due to a stretching of the midline connective tissue or “linea alba”. Although some diastasis will heal postpartum, in many cases a separation will remain without restorative exercise.
Distention from DR will present as a doming in the midline. Women who heal a diastasis spontaneously or through restorative exercise may still find that their abdomens are distended, particularly after a meal and/or at the end of the day. If there is no diastasis, why is this?
This abdominal distention does not occur in the midline, but rather across the entire abdominal wall. This is due to a weakened hypotonic TVA- transverse abdominis muscle. The TVA is the deepest anterior abdominal muscle, wrapping around the midsection like a girdle, with a left and right side. T…

Day 3 Carb Flush- Ketosis

I am on Day 3 of my pre race carb flush. Here is my food plan for today:
Wednesday:
- Coffee & Banana
<--- Left was my mid day post client meal- chicken chunks, red cabbage and spinach in a white sauce, quinoa.

---> Right was my dinner- raw veggies with homemade mayo, bacon (mmmmm), 2 perogies, edamame.

Tonight I had 1/2 pear, cheddar cheese chunks and 3 thick crackers. O yes and this......

Sangria FTW! :)

I am wrapping up the 3rd and last day of my carb flush. Tomorrow I begin to replenish, Friday is the big homemade pasta dinner we have planned, then Saturday is bean salad and regular program pre-race day. I have completely avoided refined sugar even in my coffee (favouring extra milk over sugar). I will continue this until race day and beyond, now seemingly hyper-mindful of glycemic indexes and performance (from race day to every day!).

The Mississauga Half Marathon Clinic at the Winston Park Dr. Running Room store had its last clinic meet on Tuesday. I loved running with …

Nutrition- Soup & Bread!

I could live on soup. Seriously- it is an infusion of goodness full of electrolytes and soluble nutrition. It is hard to f*%$ up soup :) It's a go-to healthy choice. A small serving is very filling. It can be topped with bread, shredded cheese, sour cream or yogurt. It is a 2:00 reheat and great for a fast meal at home. It is a great "healthier" restaurant choice. I order soup all the time! It is delicious :)

Ben made this amazing asparagus and broccoli soup. He brought me 2 containers which = 4 servings for me. I have 2 left for the weekend. It is a jam packing 300 calorie infusion- perfect fuel for training and a healthy food plan. Here is his recipe:
Four cups of each potato, asparagus carrot and broccoli
1 bag of milk
2 cups chicken stock.
I think he blended it.
Serve with greek yogurt.
After adding the cheese I thought it was a bit salty so perhaps 1 cup of stock could be replaced by 1 cup of water? Regardless, this is a simple and delicious healthy recipe to try!