Core engagement and reflexive core - why is this important?
If we think of our pelvis as a suspension bridge, it typically has towers, supports, suspension cables managing forces and creating tension and stability. Our pelvis can also be seen as a suspension bridge that needs to be stable. Once it is, it can support our body as a solid foundation for the movement of our limbs.
If the pelvis is not totally stable, our "pelvis-bridge" will be somewhat unsupported and our body will have to work a lot harder to create movement off a base that has more movement than it should.
How can we tell if our core is struggling to support our "pelvis-bridge"? Some of the symptoms can include disc herniations or abdominal herniations, which means our body is not managing forces very well, so that pressure breaks through creating weaknesses of some sort.
The good news is that our core can strengthen and become more responsive to our needs. We do not want to walk around thinking "core engagement" all the time. We want our core to respond automatically to our needs. This is a core that is reflexive. There is more engagement if we lift something heavy, and less engagement if we lift something light, for instance. We don't need to think about "pulling the belly in", it just happens.
We can train our core to become reflexive through learning to manage breathing better, increasing ribcage mobility, working on our alignment, and repetition of these movements so that they become more automatic, less conscious.
Join us in the Movement for Life FB group to see an exercise video accompanying this post.
Image credit - Minna Hamalainen