I think we have all heard someone at one time or another say ‘engage your core’ or ‘make sure you brace yourself for this exercise’. Sooo what exactly does that mean, why does it matter, and how do you do it properly? Keep reading for a way to make every exercise more effective.
1) What is bracing or engaging your core? Bracing is a combination of breathing and tension. You are creating tension in your muscles, particularly in your abdominal area, while continuing to breath through your exercise. You want to do this in every exercise from pushups to squats to crunches.
2) Why does it matter? Keeping your muscles engaged is important because it ensures proper form, therefore decreasing your chance of injury and it makes your exercises more effective. We all want more effective. I can tell you I didn’t get up at 5:15 am this morning to waste my time. I want every second of every movement to count!
3) How do you brace? I want you to imagine you are a 15-year-old boy at your high school locker. You see your friend coming down the hall and in true 15-year old fashion, you know he will shove you as he walks by. What do you do with your muscles when you know someone is about to push you? You ‘brace for impact’. Try it… Voila, bracing. You should notice all your muscles tighten – remember that feeling and before you start any exercise remember to ‘brace for impact’.
Have a happy weekend folks!