Friday, October 22, 2010

Core Strength and the Pelvic Floor

*Disclaimer* ~ I am not a doctor or a personal trainer however I have written this blog based on my own limited knowledge after some comments from my personal trainer.

Other than the need to increase my cardiovascular fitness my abdominals (or lack thereof) have always been an issue. I have never had ‘washboard’ abs and for the most part I avoid sit-ups like the plague. Incidentally, I had a trainer in the past comment that I had stronger lower abs than upper; go figure. Sometimes when I do abdominal exercises I want to cry because they hurt. *sigh*

I remember watching a US program a few years ago where a woman had lost a significant amount of weight and was then able to have a tummy tuck. I was surprised to see that under the layers of excess skin that she had an obviously strong abdominal wall. So there are some abdominal muscles under there somewhere!

Strong abdominals are crucial to help support your lower back, spine and assist with good posture. According to my sister they are also important if you want to be a success in a pole-dancing class! Abdominal strengthening can be achieved with exercises that work all the muscles; i.e. Pilates, Yoga, Swiss ball work and Tai Chi.

A few months back I had just finished a workout with my gorgeous personal trainer Arlene. We were doing the dreaded abdominals and she had me squeeze a small ball between my knees. I was going gung-ho and then she said “right Vanessa when you squeeze the ball I want you to focus on squeezing your pelvic floor muscles”. I was “what the hell”. At the end of the work out I asked her why working my pelvic floor muscles would help my abdominals. Arlene explained that if I thought of my abdominals like a box and contained within that box were groups of muscles (lower abdominals ~ Rectus, internal and external oblique and the deeper Transverus). So sitting at the bottom of your core are your pelvic floor muscles which assist in supporting your core.

It is probably best to have a read of research done way back in 2003 around ‘Rehabilitation of pelvic floor muscles utilizing trunk stabilization’ which talks about the “synergy” between abdominal and pelvic floor and have a look on the internet too.

So gals when strengthening your abdominals do not forget about your Pelvic Floor; do exercises in the car at the lights, or while you are cooking tea!

If anyone else other useful information/links/knowledge please, please add them into the comments.

Helpful links:
Core Strength and Core Stabilization Training
Pelvic Floor Exercises etc.
Rehabilitation of pelvic floor using trunk stabilization

Previous Weight: 155.5kg
Current Weight: 154.8kg
Weight Difference: -700g
Initial Goal Weight: 99kg
Work out pledge: 3 cardio and 2 resistance workouts

PS My favourite workout song this week is “Proud Mary” ~ Glee Cast.

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