17 Core Stability and Posture Myths That Annoy Me Greatly!

ab-workout1

Rant Warning!

The subject of “Core” and “Abs” and “Stability” comes up a lot in my day-to-day life. You hear it at training, my patients tell me about it all the time, and the internet is awash with all sorts of dodgy (but often well-meaning) information (or disinformation!).

Right now, I am fed up. All sorts of people think they know all about the “core”. I can tell you that unless they are well-trained physios, I haven’t met many that understand the “core” well – and that includes a lot of physios!

So, I am going to hopefully blow a lot of myths out of the water one at a time with a post dedicated to each one (hopefully with video) but I want to put the list out there right now…open your mind because these will rock some rusted-on beliefs! I have ‘busted’ each of these myths over the years and can do so at any time you wish…just ask me to show you 🙂

Myth cobra2-215x3001. The ‘core’ are your abs.

WRONG – they are 4 muscles, none of which you can see. I don’t care what other people say about adding muscles to this list. These 4 are the original “inner unit” muscles.

  1. Diaphragm – You use this to breath and control pressure in your abdomen
  2. Pelvic Floor – This helps keep you dry and smelling better than if they didn’t work…they also contribute to pressure control and pelvic stability
  3. Multifidus – This “little” muscle helps control spinal shear and is thought to work by blowing up like a balloon causing increased fascial tension
  4. Transversus Abdominis (TrAb) – This thin sheet of muscle is quite extensive and control abdominal pressure and helps keep the whole system together – it connects the other 3 ‘core’ muscles and provides the base for the strong ‘global’ muscles to generate large amounts of torque.

 

strainingMyth 2. You HAVE to activate your ‘core’ muscles

WRONG! In a healthy person (I define “healthy” as having ALL your automatic reflex activation intact, no dysfunctions), they all work. How do I know? Because you are alive – the diaphragm’s job is breathing. If it wasn’t working, you would be dead. I also know your pelvic floor is working because you don’t smell all that bad…if it wasn’t working, you would smell of urine or faeces or both. In a healthy person, you can have “dysfunction” which simply means not working properly but they are usually working…if they aren’t, you have a problem like a nerve that has been damaged. We do teach people who have proven dysfunction to “activate” but that period of time should last no longer than 4-6 weeks…doing it all the time is NOT NORMAL! I repeat…deliberately pre-activating your core BEFORE doing ANYTHING is DYSFUNCTIONAL.

(For my women’s health Physio sisters…if you have a history of vaginal delivery, structural issues like pelvic organ prolapse, or pelvic floor dysfunction, talk to your Physio – you may need to do a prep brace for life 😔)

 

Abdominal PalpateMyth 3. You can feel the Transversus Abdominis directly

WRONG! The best place to feel the action of the Tranversus Abdominis is in this picture.

At best, you have to avoid the Rectus Abdominis  in the middle, you will be on the fascia for External Obliques and the horizontal fibres of Internal Obliques…at worst, you will also have to include the fibers of External Obliques in there as well…You know bacon? if you look carefully, you are eating the skin (rind), fat layer, External Obliques, fat layer, Internal Obliques, fat layer, and then the Transversus Abdominis…try find a spot on your long piece of bacon that only has that final thin layer – you won’t because it doesn’t exist!

cant-see-bubbles-investwithalexMyth 4. Activation of Transversus Abdominis is felt as a “rise” or “bubbles” or “popping out” of a muscle.

WRONG! The function of Transversus Abdominis is to pull taut. If you feel ANY outward pressure of a muscle, you are probably feeling Internal or External Obliques. Stop fooling yourself! The correct contraction will feel like a tensioning without a rise…and if you don’t believe me, check with someone who has an ultrasound machine (and knows how to use it!). Transversus Abdominis has a slide, not a ‘pop’.

 

o-COUGH-facebookMyth 5. Coughing helps you find Transversus Abdominis (when feeling for it as in Myth 4)

WRONG! Coughing will produce MASSIVE amounts of intraabdominal pressure. This means that ALL your muscles will fire up including external oblique and internal oblique. If they go off, you won’t have an iceberg’s chance in hell of feeling the Transversus Abdominis.

HamstringsMyth 6. Hamstrings activating means your ‘core’ is on

I have no idea where some people get their information from. I read this one on a website I won’t mention but it is something I have heard before. Your hamstrings extend the hip and flex the knee. They do a better job if it is coordinated well with a well-controlled trunk (I hate the term “core stability” but if you must…).

This kind of idea must stem from a poor understanding of logic (and maths). You see, if you have a well-coordinated trunk, you will turn on your hamstrings in a nice strong manner when you need to use them…like running, jumping, doing athletic things etc. People then think “A good core means good hamstrings function…therefore good hamstrings function equals a good core” – WRONG WRONG WRONG!!! Think of a Poodle (my classic Poodle illustration). A Poodle is always a dog. A dog is not always a Poodle. When someone tells you that a good core means good hamstrings therefore good hamstrings equals a good core, that is like saying a Poodle is always a dog, therefore every dog is a Poodle…that is how dumb it sounds to a trained health professional!

glutesMyth 7. Your Glutes and ‘Core’/Abs can only work together

WRONG (again)!!! Where do these people come up with these weird ideas!!?? Again, an error in logic by poorly educated people (in this case, a personal trainer). Your glutes extend and rotate the hip. They do so better when your trunk and pelvis are well controlled (you have good “core stability”)…so if someone tells you to turn your glutes on to turn on the ‘core’, tell them to take their pants off, that’s how ridiculous the request is. Yes, your Glutes will reflexively cause your ‘core’ to turn on, but at what cost? I have demonstrated before that having your Glutes on will weaken you, not strengthen you. Let your brain do its job and work out what muscles you need. Touch your nose – did you need to think about turning muscles on and off? No? Neither do you need to turn the Glutes on…if you WANT them to turn on because a cute guy or girl is walking past, then go ahead. Otherwise, fix your technique so they turn on automatically! You can use your ‘core’ without turning on your glutes…to think otherwise is stupid.

 

WRONG!!!

WRONG!!!

Myth 8. “Belly Breathing” is the correct way of diaphragmatic breathing

WRONG! Correct breathing is where the chest opens up and rises. When you are lying down, a good breathing pattern is to have the belly rise AT THE SAME RATE as the chest. It should then fall at the same rate. If you are “chest breathing”, then the chest will rise and the tummy will often stay still or suck in when you breathe in…not good. if you are seeking to use the ‘core’ properly, REMEMBER THEY ARE A TEAM. By letting the tummy rise and fall MORE than the chest, you are essentially saying to Transversus Abdominis “don’t do your job”. A good breathing pattern will control the intrathoracic pressure and match it to the intraabdominal pressure and result in the pressure being shared around the body nicely and have the correct amount of tension controlling everything. That is what your ‘core’ is designed to do…LET IT DO IT! And to say that a baby knows how to do it and then we got lazy is plain stupid. A baby doesn’t do it because it lacks the muscle development to even hold itself up in standing – the reason you see a baby’s belly moving up and down is because they don’t have enough muscle tone!

 

oximeter_300C4_2Myth 9. You are not oxygenated enough if you don’t breathe properly

STUPIDLY WRONG! If you don’t breathe properly, your oxygenation will probably drop a bit… to about 90%. Your brain isn’t stupid (despite some myth-spreaders appearing to be stupid). if your brain is starving of oxygen, it will do a number of things to get your attention. It will make you yawn. You will suddenly and uncontrollably take a deep breath. You will feel sleepy and may even fall asleep so the brain can get rid of your conscious self and do what it wants to do. it might even make you pass out and hit the ground so it can get the right oxygen levels in. if you aren’t feeling like that, you have enough oxygen. if you are ever unsure, go to a hospital and ask to take a SaO2 test – this is the saturation of oxygen in your blood…if it isn’t baove 95% and you are healthy, I would be very surprised.

 

???????????????????????????????Myth 10. A straight spine is a good spinal posture

WRONG! The ideal spine shape is a lordosis (mild extension) at your lumbar spine, a kyphosis (mild flexion) at your thoracic spine, and a lordosis in your cervical spine (neck). God made you this way to spread the load around like a spring. If you were meant to look like a pillar, you would be made that way (or adapted that way). So why force the issue? An excessive ANYTHING is bad. If your lordosis is excessive, you will irritate the facet joints of your back. If your kyphosis is excessive, you will only look at the ground when you walk. Some of my biggest “problem patients” have been athletes with “reverse curves” – they have a flexed-flat lumbar spine and an extended thoracic spine and they wonder why they have pain when everyone tells them their posture is “perfect”. Garbage. Love your curves…it equals less pain, better ability to respond to load and increased performance.

arches-of-the-footMyth 11. Your weight should be in the centre of your heels

WRONG! The foot is designed so that the navicular is the ‘keystone’ of your foot…the centre of your longitudinal arch. Your weight should be where the knots of your shoelaces are…just in front of the shin bone. The weight should be spread like a pyramid between the front of your heel, the 5th metatarsalphalangeal joint (MTPJ) and the 1st MTPJ. This is for standing still. If you want to do other things, then your weight will shift somewhere within your base of support but that is another matter. The weight should only be in the centre of your heels when you are leaning backwards or something similar.

 

posterior-pelvic-tilt1Myth 12. Tucking your pelvic under (or out for that matter) solves the posture problem

WRONG! When you tuck your pelvic under, you will get the dreaded “flat-bum” look and you won’t have a “bubble-butt”. This is the same crazy advice-giver that said to switch on your Glutes…remember that the glutes are meant to extend the hips…but a posterior pelvic tilt results in lumbar flexion…so do they want hip extension or lumbar flexion or even worse…BOTH!? That would cause MASSIVE amounts of pressure. Any shear or loss of control of the femoral head or vertebral segments can lead to things like labral tears or herniated discs…what you love to have, right?

 

pelvic tiltMyth 13. You can isolate a pelvic tilt to the pelvis only

WRONG! So wrong that if someone tells you this, they obviously are uneducated about the body. When you perform a pelvic tilt, it causes flexion/extension at the hips and flexion/extension at L5/S1. YOU CANNOT AVOID THIS. Perhaps people mean isolate it to the hips and L5/S1 – fine. Be accurate lest you look stupid!

 

 

 

 

yoga-knee-locked-feature-538x218Myth 14. You should not “lock out” your knees

WRONG! Why do you think you were made to lock out your knees? Have you ever tried having “perfect posture” with “soft, unlocked knees”? How long can you stay in “perfect posture”? You can’t do it for long because the body is EFFICIENT! locking out your knees allows your muscles to have a relative rest while you are still standing still. No, I don’t want you to hyperextend your lock out. No, I don’t want your quads locked on to lock your knees out – it is meant to be a rest position, not an overactive one!

 

Neither of these positions are good

Neither of these positions are good

Myth 15. Having all your muscles consciously activated is good for your posture

WRONG! This is stupidly spread by all sorts of well-meaning people. The bottom line is that EFFICIENCY is the key. Your body doesn’t want to do things the hard way. It will if you leave it no choice. Otherwise, it seeks to find the best and most efficient way to do things. This includes standing up. the BEST way to think about your posture is to get those spinal curves right using whatever you need to do to get them. Then, maintain that position and RELAX so you are using the LEAST amount of tension to hold the posture and/or position. This works for standing or sitting the same as it works for squatting 200kg. #tensiontotask

bad runningMyth 16. When running, your foot strike should be under your hips

WRONG! Your foot strike should be under your centre of gravity which is somewhere between your pelvis and your sternum. When you are running, you will have to lean forwards. That means that your tummy/chest will be ahead of your hips. Therefore, your foot strike will be ahead of your hips. If you run landing your foot under your hips, I will guarantee you are running too upright or simply looking weird. Stop it!

 

 

 

i-dont-knowMyth 17. Your personal trainer/coach/health professional knows all about the ‘core’

WRONG! I have one of the highest levels of education a Physiotherapist can have – I have a Bachelor’s Degree, a Masters Degree and have completed Specialization Training. I do not know it all. We physiotherapists lead the way in the research and education of ‘core stability’ and struggle to teach it correctly to physios…what makes you think a weekend course by someone who is NOT a physio means you have had a good education? I don’t care if you suffered an injury and learned about it that way – your injury is just one subset of many injuries. What is suitable for you will make someone else worse. What needs to happen is that we need to all admit we don’t really know for sure what we don’t know.


 

2014-11-02 09.42.21The information above are my personal beliefs, based in evidence-based practice. That means that where there is research, I have incorporated it. I have incorporated the teaching of those who know much more than I. I have added my personal experience but most powerfully for you, I can demonstrate my beliefs are correct right in front of your eyes.

I would love to hear from you if you agree or disagree – just leave a comment below – and please share this important information around.

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About Antony Lo
Antony Lo is an APA Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist based in Sydney. His website is www.MyPhysios.com.au. He specializes in the management, treatment and prevention of pain and dysfunction, particularly of the pelvis and ribcage. His sub-specialties include Crossfit and Exercise Performance Optimization, Ante-Natal and Post-Natal Care and difficult cases that have failed treatment elsewhere.

50 Responses to 17 Core Stability and Posture Myths That Annoy Me Greatly!

  1. Jess says:

    Excellent rant Antony. Someone had to say it…

    Like

    • Antony Lo says:

      Thanks Jess 🙂 Just got fed up because someone told me they didn’t to spend the time or money to learn the stuff we were presenting because they knew it all already and everyone is doing fine…checked the website… O.o!!!

      Like

  2. Renae says:

    I believe what is written to be true. This was quite educational. But there is no need to be so rude and negative against other health professionals.

    Like

  3. andrewgraham511 says:

    Hi antony,
    i have lower back pain on my righthand side when i fill my stomach with air bracing before a lift. found that when i pull my pelvis into a slight posterior tilt and “brace” my abbs the pain isnt as much as when im in a slight extension which im in normally. it doesnt excessive as i hav way more range in extension as flexion. currently not lifting. any ideas?

    Like

    • Antony Lo says:

      It would be improper of me to say for certain what is going on with you Andrew.

      I just wonder ‘when does it stop?’

      You can tuck your pelvis under – but how far? You can brace your abs…but how much? Why do you have to do that? How do you lift? Do you need such a big breath? Why is your flexion range limited? There are lots to discover – try to find someone who can help you sort it through 🙂

      Like

      • andrewgraham511 says:

        the pain is really faint when i rotate my pelvis under compared to when in extension.. as soon as i stop bracing my abbs the pain goes away. I do crossfit, so bracing my core for lifts etc. I know it would be pretty hard and pretty annoying to try n diagnose over the internet, just thought u may of come across this before. also i have no pain doing leg raises in hollow position, (20sec eccentric while keepin my back flat on the floor not extending)..

        Like

        • Antony Lo says:

          It isn’t about diagnosis being hard or annoying…it is legally dangerous for me! Hahaha

          I have come across this lots. You really need a good consult in person with someone.

          Tucking under is not usually a good long term solution.

          Posture and position is the key. Achieve that with the minimal amount of tension to achieve the task and you will be well on your way. Keep things together and don’t get loose but don’t overcook things 🙂

          Like

  4. andrewgraham511 says:

    ” the extension doesnt *FEEL* excessive” currently usin ice n heat,

    Like

    • Todd Leeder says:

      From personal experience it has taken me 18 months to learn how to truly activate my core. Be patient it takes time. I can now activate it and crack my lower back in the process and hear a pop 🙂

      Like

  5. Ken says:

    Fun read. I’ll admit I haven’t heard a few of the myths myself (e.g. good hammys=good core) but I’m always amazed at the stuff I ‘learn’ at the gym, or better yet hot yoga. I was once told to activate my piriformis haha. Anyways, what stood out for me from this article is common theme of adaptation. Our bodies are designed this way for a reason and our brains are extremely good at controlling them. In the case of injury or true dysfunction it is necessary to retrain the body and thus the brain to break the bad habits that have developed as a result of the injury, and in a lot of cases break the habits that caused the injury. The human body is the most efficient machine on the planet but we find so many ways to mess with it through mis information and mis guided advice (often from health professionals). Great rant, maybe next time you can delve into the psyche of the ‘I have a high pain tolerance’ patient.
    BBC, MPT

    Like

    • Antony Lo says:

      Thanks Ken. I hear lots of weird things. What is BBC, MPT?

      The “I have a high pain tolerance” patient is not too bad…just substitute the word “pain” with “sore” or “discomfort” and they are like other patients 😝😉😁

      Like

  6. Betty says:

    I have a friend male dealing with pelvic floor pain. It started after his prostate biopsy. No infection. Just pressure before he goes to the bathroom and pain after he goes (bm).
    He is on meds for pain. This had consumed his life.
    He is a business man and this has consumed his life. ..
    He had never been a believer in drugs
    This pain is effecting his emotional life as well.
    Any advice? Thank you!

    Like

    • Antony Lo says:

      Hi betty. That’s a terrible situation but not uncommon as you might think.

      My advice would be to seek a pelvic floor physiotherapist/physical therapist who has a subspecialty in dealing with males with chronic pelvic pain. There could be so many different things that could be going on, it wiuld be unfair for me to guess.

      Like

  7. midwifeshawn says:

    While we’re ranting … ‘History of vaginal delivery’ is neither a structural issue nor an abnormality. Pregnancy causes issues for some women, regardless of mode of delivery.

    Like

    • Antony Lo says:

      You are absolutely correct however, it is a signficiant contributing factor to structual issues and can lead to avulsion of the levator ani.

      I am not saying Caesarian section is better either – poorly worded late at night. Apologies 🙂

      Like

      • Antony Lo says:

        Ok, I have put “a history of vaginal delivery” first before the mention of structural issues or pelvic floor dysfunction. That should make things clearer. I do want women who have had a vaginal delivery to get an internal examination by a women’s health Physio…ideally every woman who has had a baby or pregnancy should get one.

        Like

  8. Anonymous says:

    Good article, but Dude relax lol don’T be so angry.

    Like

  9. Morgan Blythe says:

    Wonderful! I am a pelvic pain therapist and it takes me quite a while to break through these myths that have been drilled into our clients. I would like your opinion on something regarding #9. I advocate deep slow breathing to my clients not for oxygenation purposes but for improving muscle function in both the diaphragm and pelvic floor. By taking our time and expanding into these muscles we are “internally massaging” and reinforcing proper posture through the true core muscles. we do deep breathing exercises for a few minutes a day deliberately activating and dropping the pelvic floor and breathing up and out into the diaphragm with the goal of retaining our bodies to breath like this on their own. Is this something you agree with? Or is there a better way in your opinion to reinforce the use of these muscles in their role with breath?

    Like

    • Antony Lo says:

      I prefer to use different words to avoid developing further myths (dropping could sound catastrophic 😉) but i agree with what you say.

      I was responding to a claim that you had to breath properly to properly oxygenate yourself…in the average, healthy person, your oxygenation is usually just fine…which is why it is the first thing checked at the ED 😁

      Like

  10. Bec says:

    I agree with much of what you have to say about Core Stability and Posture, but I disagree that Physio’s are the only health professionals that understand it. Exercise Physiologists also have years worth of evidence based research, practice and experience in this area. I agree that within both professions there are some who understand it more fully than others, and one of the things that drives me crazy is when people take a blanket approach towards exercise prescription based on a poor assessment and a poorer understanding of healthy function. But please don’t suggest that Physio’s have the market on understanding the anatomy and physiology of exercise and healthy bodily and muscular function. This is an area where both professions have a lot to offer, and no doubt a lot to learn.

    Like

    • Antony Lo says:

      Thats fair bec. I was on a rant. I havent met many people who actually think about what is taught lr understand what is taught. And then what is taught isnt that good.

      Of course there are plenty of good practitioners of all professions who lnow their stuff.

      It was a rant. I apologise.

      Like

      • Bec says:

        That’s ok, as I said I hear where you’re coming from. One of my pet peeves is hearing clinicians tell people to squeeze their glutes and do a bridge…. Other than trying really hard to avoid an embarrassing toilet accident when you really have to go and there’s no loo in sight, where do you functionally squeeze (read clench) your glutes to do anything? I much prefer to cue the movements that I know will promote the recruitment of the right muscles to maintain the control that I’m looking for- without wanting to see rigid tense Frankenstein movements from people trying too hard to actively ‘engage’ everything. The rant is warranted, I just like it to be more inclusive 🙂

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        • Antony Lo says:

          I call that “harderer is betterer” – people think that because when you lift heavy, you use lots of muscle activity, therefore, using lots of muscle activity will let me lift heavy. It is a logic problem 🙂

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          • Allison Bryant says:

            And if you are maximally activating gluts, you are also activating superficial abdominals, which will only increase the IAP and make any continence issues worse.o

            Like

  11. Rob Devereux says:

    Nice rant Antony and, being a physio and a trainer of trainers myself, I feel your pain! One point of correction on Myth #12 however: “remember that the glutes are meant to extend the hips…but a posterior pelvic tilt results in hip flexion…so do they want hip extension or flexion or even worse…BOTH!?”. A posterior pelvic tilt actually results in hip extension not flexion so the rest of the sentence is a bit moot. Also to suggest that co-activation of the hip flexors and extensors would create MASSIVE amounts of pressure leading to a possible labral tear is a bit nonsensical. The hip joint is innately very stable however shear forces are created by both flexors and extensors and as such they tend to co-activate to neutralize respective anterior and posterior shear forces thus reducing the stress and strain on the labrum rather than increasing it as you suggested. I agree that a posterior tilt should definitely not be advocated however the logic of your argument is somewhat spurious – I’ll blame it on the late night rant 🙂

    Like

    • Antony Lo says:

      Thanks. Yes indeed, late night rant. I have amended it to reflect what I meant. Lots of pressure from cocontractions added to any shear is dangerous. In my experience, excessive tension causes pain and problems, not solves them.

      Like

  12. Jim Pickles says:

    Well, I am not a physio, so maybe that counts me out straight away. I am a physiologist and anatomist, and now a stretch teacher, so have a scientists approach. I agree with pretty much everything put there; there are only minor quibbles. Luckily I don’t hang out with the groups that purvey the nonsense myths that you have quoted. I agree with all your points, though have comments on some of your responses.
    2. Sometimes – if I am going to do a heavy lift, I definitely and voluntarily brace my core first (and I encourage others to do that too). My spine is too valuable to screw up if by mistake I rush ahead with a lift before the core has come in. On the other hand, of course we do lots of stability exercises to encourage the automatic reflex association between the stability muscles and the prime movers.
    8. I am impressed by the work showing that proper breathing is substantially side-rib breathing; the diaphragm and upper ribs are secondary in importance (it is more efficient to breathe without having to push the contents of the abdomen up and down).
    9. The upper parts of the lung are over-ventilated and under-perfused (with blood). The lower parts of the lungs are relatively under-ventilated and over-perfused. Because the O2 dissociation curve is convex upwards, variation in O2 uptake with uneven perfusion will lead to a lower overall O2 content of the blood than if it was more even. If we can direct more ventilation towards the base of the lung (by lower rib or diaphragm breathing), the blood in the base of the lung becomes more saturated, and it carries more O2 without lowering the pCO2 (which would happen if we just breathed harder). This may be why directing breathing to the lower lung feels good too (it does to me, anyway).
    10. I wonder about straight spines. I know physios don’t like them. The man in your photo looks bizarre, but his tail is clearly very tucked. Even with an apparently straight back, the variation in the lengths of vertebral processes means that the weight-bearing vertebral column still has a curve. Some people (some Thai women?) seem to have very straight spines (maybe for cultural reasons?) which looks aesthetically pleasing – I wonder if they have the problems you talk about. Peoples et al (2008; J Neurosurg Spine 8:501-9) showed that contortionists had very straight spines and even a slight reverse kyphosis in the thorax but did not seem to have any problems associated with it. Ballet dancers also aim to get a flat back but I am not aware that this specifically gives rise to problems – but maybe you know more than I do about this. I just wonder if the flat backs you see in your population have a pathological origin.

    Any comments?
    Many thanks, Jim.

    Like

    • Antony Lo says:

      Hi jim.

      I am ok with the scientific approach.

      2. You may voluntraily contract but how fo you know for certain you voluntarily contracted your “core” because i am willing to bet it was your obliques you turned on.

      No one is asking you to rush. If you read the literature on core stability – hodges, hides, richardson, jull, etc – your core has “switched on” before voluntary movement has begun. So your statement doesnt make sense if we are talking about the 4 core muscles. Your brain controls the tension you require which is why in a predicable situation, it will work properly. Does doing the exercises really encourage activation? Is there research for that? Clinically, it seems to help in some patients and not others.

      8. Reference please! How do you do side rib breathing in a cylinder?! If you were to increase the coronal plane width, yet keep the AP width the same, you have to be using your obliques to hold it…not so efficient. Pressure takes care of the abdominal contents.

      9. You are presuming that in a healthy person, their resting respiration rate is ineffective to saturate the blood above 90+%. The feeling good breathing into the lower ribs is likely the effect of stretchibg those abs which you have overactivated to keep the ribs down, and bracing with them! 😝😜

      10. Straight spines from a physics and biomechanical point of view are not better. Clinically, hypermobile people have lots of pain issues. Contortionists, i guarantee you, have muscular aches and pains that wont show up on scans. Plus, they are body weight exercises only. What anout a double bodyweight squat? Deadlift? As for ballet, why do you think pilates was invented? Have you ever met a ballet dancer that didnt need a massage or treatment? They force the positions, they are often hypermobile and they all ache in some way.

      Flat back postures are a recipe for pain just like excessive extended and flexed postures, for prolonged time or lifting.

      Like

  13. Morag says:

    This is great and supports mostly everything I teach and apply in my yoga classes.
    Yoga practised appropriately enables the normal functioning of the ” core”

    Like

  14. bb4x4 says:

    So blown away by all the info in one article. Makes this avid researcher and trainer of 20 years feel like a nub… whatever a nub is : )
    Some suggestions of what TO do and say and what IS important when training… would balance this article and help peeps like me greatly! Broad request I know but now I’m itching to know what YOU would be saying if you were instructing fitness classes. Maybe another blog post/rant ; )

    Like

    • Antony Lo says:

      hi bb4x4,

      A “nub” or a “noob”…because a noob is a “newbie” 😉

      i don’t rant about what to do…

      it is about posture and position, matching the tension to the task, understanding that the brain can sort most things out but learning when it isn’t working well.

      The right cue is the one that gets the result you want…not really helpful in a specific way but you have to know what is right.

      I am working on something to help 🙂

      Cheers

      Like

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  16. Anonymous says:

    I agree there is a lot of good information here, but I have to say a lot of it was lost for me in the constant tone of bashing how stupid everyone else is. Everyone is doing the best they can with the information they have and genuinely want to help people. I would have enjoyed this article a lot more from the perspective of “promoting what you love without basing what you hate.”

    Like

    • Antony Lo says:

      Fair enough. I do acknowledge that (I think) but it was a rant. I gave fair warning. I was upset and it was midnight when I started writing and didn’t finish until around 2.30am. Read some of my other blog posts to see if I am always like that – if you like the tone of those articles, maybe you can leave a comment saying you enjoyed the fair tone it was written in 😉

      Cheers

      Like

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  18. steph says:

    Antony,
    I manage a program for pregnant and postpartum females and in our guides and regulations (yes, we are military), we are coached to have both groups practice kegels and pelvic tilts to strengthen the “core” muscles as they become weak being with child and need development postpartum to avoid issues such as incontinence. Are these exercises a waste of their time or are there other exercises I can have them perform that make sense in strengthening the pelvic floor or are we completely off track?

    Thanks in advance.

    Steph

    Like

    • Antony Lo says:

      Very fair question steph.

      There are many contributing factors to incontinence.

      The “core” muscles might not actually become weak but might less effective because the fascia has stretched – just one example.

      Like all things, the way you do something is more important than what you are doing. The pelvic floor has a “squeeze” and a “lift” component to its normal function. If you dont incorporate both, then it is less efficient. You should also test using muscle testing to see if it helps.

      I am hoping to develop resources to help people develop good programs. Again, it isnt the particular exercise that is important but the principles applied.

      In the end, it doesnt hurt to do pelvic floor exercises properly…just some of the rusted on beliefs should be challenged and tested 😜

      Like

  19. LouisianaPT says:

    Love the Rant!

    Please explain and if you have any references regarding what was said below about breathing, would love to read them! Am I confused ? Does the DNS teach in opposition to what you are saying, it seems they teach belly breathing as the normal pattern?? or maybe I am confused…

    “Correct breathing is where the chest opens up and rises. When you are lying down, a good breathing pattern is to have the belly rise AT THE SAME RATE as the chest”

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  20. Alex says:

    Well written Antony!

    Like

  21. Allison Bryant says:

    I agree Antony.
    #4 I usually say that TA activating should feel like a river “turning to ice” under your fingers.
    #5 as for coughing, I usually have them cough, feel the rise and then let them know that this is what they are NOT to feel with their exercises.

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    • Antony Lo says:

      Yep. For #4 – nice cue (see what i did there? Ice cube/nice cue)

      For #5, that only applies to isolation exercises. As soon as you move a limb or load the system, you will need obliques to help 😁

      Like

  22. Rima Jani says:

    Very informative & cleared so much of my doubts. Thank you.

    Like

  23. Pingback: Moorestown, Mt. Laurel, Marlton, Cherry Hill NJ – Are you really training your core?

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