Getting into the core

I was training for triathlon in 2004 and couldn’t figure out why I was having so many hamstring problems. I constantly stretched, I was going to yoga twice a week at work, and I was careful not to ‘overdo’ it during training sessions. I had massage, physio and finally went to a sports doctor who MRI’d my lower back. Apparently, those lower muscles around my spine were weak.
So, I was given a set of exercises to build up the muscles. But I still didn’t know exactly what your core was.

What muscles are in your core?

  • Transverse abs: Those are the deepest muscles in the abdominal area (not the six-pack you see)
  • Multifidus: Those muscles around the spine (the ones my doc said were weak)
  • Pelvic floor: The muscles that control the bladder (I’m trying to say it politely)
  • Diaphragm: The muscles used in breathing

In yoga, I often state that you need to tighten your pelvic floor ‘mula bandha’ and lower belly ‘uddiyana bandha’. This is a way of locking those muscles which increases stability. Drawing in these muscles helps you balance and gracefully jump from forward bend to plank.

Your core is directly connected to your hamstrings (backs of thighs), glutes (bum/butt), and lower back. By strengthening your core, you will notice improvements in other areas in the body. Yoga poses do not isolate one particular muscle – it works several other areas at the same time. How efficient 🙂

Here’s a vid of plank instructions:

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