Introduction: Identifying and Stabilizing the Core Muscles

Everywhere you turn, you hear the importance of having a strong core.
You are only as strong as your weakest link, right?
Many of us unknowingly have instabilities or imbalances within our most underlying “core” muscles. You may be thinking " so what ".  Ignoring the issue may lead to bad posture, instabilities, and possible injuries. The Gluteus Medius muscle is a common muscle that becomes weak, creating an instability over time.

First check out your butt or should I say this butt (above center)

       -The glut maximus is the big muscle we use the most.

       -The glut medius is smaller underlying muscle that keeps helps keep you aligned.

Why do we need strong Gluteus Medius muscles?

3- When firm, makes your lower back look sexy.
2 - Helps make buttocks look even.
1 - It’s a valuable pelvic stabilizer!

- Becoming out of balance or developing a weaknesses is most commonly caused by bad posture or past injuries.  Muscle memory doesn't always bounce back on its own it requires retraining.

What you you will need

1 - A comfortable spot on the  ground.

2 - Comfortable clothes  (shoes optional)


* - Make sure to keep you neck neutral too. It should be inline with your spine at all times to prevent extra strain.


*Tip - Hover over the boxes in the pictures above or click on the pictures with a pencil for additional notes 


Step 1: The Test


 - Get on your hands and knees.

-  Kick one leg straight out behind you

 -  Watch for leaning, or tilting, of the down leg.

-  Repeat with opposite leg.


* - It would be helpful if you had a trusted friend or family member to watch you see if you are leaning one way or the other.  A large mirror would  be second best if no one is around. . 

Next - What you are watching for?

Step 2: Do You Look Like This?


 -  Did either of your supporting legs shift/tilt to one side or the other like the girl in this picture?

 -  If so you could have a glut medius weakness on the side that was supporting your weight. 

 -  Don't worry most of us have this problem.  Be happy we found it. 

Now let's fix it!

Next - getting ready to exercise

Step 3: Neutral Back

First, let's find the "neutral position" of your lower back. 
 
1 - Bring your back to a neutral position (top picture)

2 - Remember what this feels like. You should get into this position before every exercise you do from now on. 

3 - Everyone's neutral will be a little different, so find what feels good to you. 


* - Make sure you aren't tucking or extending your lower back. That is what causes injuries. (example - the bottom 2 pictures)
   - Click on picture to see the text box


Next - the Kegel


Step 4: Transverse Abdominal Muscle


Second you will engage the Transverse Abdominal muscle  

1 - Do a Kegel!  You do this by pulling everything that touches a bike seat up and tighten (Think of stopping the flow if pee midstream by clenching your muscles) 

2 - Now tighten your stomach muscles. Not your outer oblique muscles but the inner Transverse muscle.  You do this by bringing you belly button up and in towards your spine (its not a sucking in motion you would do when you are putting on a tight fitting pair of paints, that doesn't require tone). 

3 - If you put your hand in a triangle on our stomach you can use your fingers to feel  the Transverse Muscle contract. 

- In doing that you will also engage the Multifidus muscle, giving your spine a protective "hug". 

- Do this step with the neutral back every time you do any exercise

*  - You don't have to do this as hard as possible. Approximately 25% intensity will do. 

Next -  ready for the exercise

Step 5: Level One Exercise

Level 1

 - Lay on the ground, face down, with your legs and arms extended away from you. 

 - Squeeze your butt and lift one leg NO more than one inch off the ground. hold for 5 seconds.

 -  Lower and repeat with other leg

- Do as many repetitions as you can.

 
*- If your back swoops or feels strained, put a pillow under your stomach. (see bottom 2 pictures)
*- Make sure your neck is neutral and not strained.
*- Click on picture to see the text box


Next - level 2

Step 6: What's Next?

 - Repeat daily 

 - Retest as needed

Level two

- To further increase core stability, you can lift and extend the arm opposite the leg you have lifted.


*- Keep neck relaxed
*- Remember  to always keep your back neutral, transverse abdominal's tight with a little kegal, and breath


Happy Exercising!

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