What do you think of when asked about foundation?
Your house? Your core? Your upbringing or family and friends?
They all are correct answers, but in regards to our body our core… It would be our inner unit and muscles that help us stand tall and protect our spine and do every day activities … that would be our foundation.
What makes up our body’s foundation?
Our Inner Core Unit
TVA’s/ Internal Obliques/ Multifidi
Our pelvic floor
If you are asking yourself what the heck is all of that stuff and how does our pelvic floor relate…..then good I am writing this for you.
Lets start from the beginning :
When we are born our body is relaxed no tension in our shoulders or neck, were not stressed out to the level we are today. All we care about is eating, sleeping and pooping….. Look at any baby and beg to differ. Exactly.
As we get older we start taking on more stress, we carry it in our neck and shoulders, we take on all the things, stress over tests, over work, over home life, finances (isn’t adulting fun?). As this happens we lose our original relaxed breathing patterns and start implementing paradoxical breathing – meaning shallow. When we inhale we raise our chest and shoulders and traps and exhale they all go down. You might think this is ok- but over time it is not.
Those muscles become over active and cause aches and pains and imbalances. In turn our diaphragm (which is our primary breathing muscle with the lungs) becomes underactive and weak. When this happens we stop engaging the correct core muscles to aid with breathing and as a result our muscles can become weak and our outer core muscles become overactive (which = imbalances and pain). Our pelvic floor does the same- the wrong muscles become tight from clenching or being stressed and not being engaged to relax with breathing.
This equals one big mess of imbalances which can stem all throughout the body- not just those muscles I mentioned. Think about it- when those are weak and not doing their job, then other muscles will over compensate and can lead to the wrong muscles doing the wrong job which can lead to injury. Our body is one big kinetic chain yall- it will get done what it needs to using whatever it can…..
So to get fixed – we must relearn how to breathe and in turn build a strong foundation to go off of.
It is easier said than done.
But here is what we gotta do:
2- RELEARN TO DEEP 360 BREATHE
3- RELEASE TIGHT MUSCLES AND ACTIVATE WEAK ONES
THEN —— We feel BETTER!
So how do we relax?
- Try to implement self care time daily (from reading to going for a walk to yoga to meditation to sleep)
Then learn to breathe right…..
- First you gotta understand how breathing as we are suppose to works.
- Think of our inner unit as a canister
- You got the diaphragm and lungs and ribs at the top
- This bad boy is our breathing muscle and it contracts and flattens to pull air into the lungs when you inhale and expands and pushes air out when you exhale.
- The inner core unit in the middle
- Transverse abdominals, internal obliques and multi fidi these should have the right amount of pressure applied during inhale and exhale to contract and release to provide support
- The pelvic floor at the bottom
- The PF provides a foundation you could think of us a bottom of a bucket or canister holding it all up
- When you inhale you should feel your belly and ribs expand as you fill your lungs with air then when you exhale you are pushing air out and contracting within the core as the pelvic floor pushes the air out and up. Think of emptying it out from the bottom up in the exhale.
- You should not raise your shoulders when you do this at all or feel anything in your neck.
- You should feel your back expand to help relax tightness that may be within your ribs and spine and it is allowing your lungs to really be filled up
- Your inhale should match the exhale
- Think inhale for 2 or 3 then exhale for 2 or 3
The more you do this the better you will get. Breathing this way not only helps relax your body and overly tight muscles but it also helps strengthen your foundation and inner core which supports the spine. (essentially all of it supports your spine but you get what I mean).
The more relaxed you are the more efficient you will be day to day. The better your body will work, and the more you will feel a difference in your workouts.
I will be digging more into this in coming weeks but I hope this helped. I challenge you to try to do this for 5 minutes a day for the next 7 days. See if it does not become easier. See if you do not become stronger and feel better for it. I swear it is magic (our bodys know what to do!).
In the meantime – check this out – Deep Breathing Video
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Working out should make you feel good.
(Exhibit A … clearly I was working out here lol) 😂
Working out should help you.
Have you ever really stopped to think why you are doing a certain workout? Have you really looked at your progress in other areas than aesthetics (losing weight) over the past year or however long you have been working out?
You should be PROGRESSING!
Our world is stressed. We are stressed. We do all the things and try all the workouts and go hard. We may keep doing the same thing over and over and get frustrated when results stop or plateau or we get injured.
This is where progression can come into play. We progress in life and we should in workouts.
Have you followed a progression with your workouts? Or are you just starting out and not sure where to start? Jumping into a HIIT class or something intense is a sure fire way to start and either not stick with it or get hurt. If you have been working out then I hope you took time to work on imbalances or if you feel them or aches and pains in workouts you stop and try to assess and work on those things before pushing through even more.
Progression is a major factor in building a balanced healthy and fit pain free life.
When we workout so hard we hurt for days after or we are exhausted the rest of the day- your body is speaking to you, you went too hard and it is taking all its energy to repair the damage.
Stop and think about this.. were stressed.
If we go into a workout already in a heightened stress state….. meaning cortisol is high due to no sleep, mental stress at home or work, or not allowing our body to recover enough from the last workout, OR even certain autoimmune diseases or conditions…. Adding another stressor to our body like an intense workout is only going to increase that stress which in turn can increase inflammation and cause recovery not to happen properly.
This is why understanding progression and recovery is so important.
When we are starting a new workout plan or type of workout, we have to start slow and progress. Meaning if you have never lifted heavy weights you do not start with heavy weights, you start with body weight, get strong there then start adding lighter weights until that gets easy, then progress from there.
Same with cardio, you build endurance by starting with walking, then when it gets easier go into jogging, add in some intervals, then increase pace more and more as your body and cardiovascular system adapts.
With every scenario we have to allow recovery, without recovery our muscles cannot break down and rebuild. If we keep breaking them down without allowing them to build back up we will only hurt our progress in the long run. We will hurt too much, they wont grow, and in turn it could mess with your metabolic rate and recovery.
Have you ever heard the quote that your body is built overnight… well it is. Sleep is also vital in recovery.
A good rule of thumb to follow is to allow 48 hours between repeating training sessions if not 72. For example if you do a strength workout on Monday focusing on squatting, lunging, and pulling then do not repeat those exercises until atleast Wednesday, Thursday being best. In between that does not mean you cannot workout but it means maybe do cardio on Tuesday or Wednesday. Or do a yoga class or do a workout focusing on Pressing or pushing and rotational movements. Rotating focus of muscle groups and training can allow for recovery and results in toning and weightloss AND strength because you are allowing your body to repair itself.
Some things to consider-
If you are stuck in a workout rut, maybe progression is part of the problem. If you need some help find someone who can. Someone who will take time and figure out your strengths and weaknesses, things that may need to be changed up to help you, and be sure to help you with correcting imbalances. Imbalances WILL lead to pain down the road along with overcompensation patterns which could cause injury. Taking time to work on these WITH your workout program will only help you later on.
If you have pains when working out- find someone to help (reference above)
If you have no idea where to start- then focus on your foundation. Breathing first, mobility, then move into resistance once bodyweight stuff is easy. For cardio start slow and build up as it gets easier! Track this stuff. If you want a FREE workout guide with 5 exercises to help start that mobility focus then check this out – get your FREE guide here!
As always I am here to help! I have numerous ways I can and please do not hesitate to reach out I am taking on 1 on 1 virtual clients right now where we address these things. Let me know! Contact me!
Next up- focusing on breathing and building that foundation. Stay tuned 😉