- Understand your core muscles so that you can focus on the foundation to a flatter abdomen and stronger back.
- Discover my five step solution that you can instantly apply so you can get back to your normal, physical activities - pain-free.
- Learn to activate the right core muscles in the correct order which means you can have a kick-ass core ready for your chosen sport.
Now you can listen to me on the go. I've just released my new Playbook for Pain Relief Podcast. With new episodes Monday-Friday every week, I'm here as your therapist and coach to share my insights to help you transform your stress, tension and pain into health, happiness and vitality.
Click here to access my Secret Back Strategy for Pain Relief podcast episode.
- Low back pain (a.k.a. lumbago) - Sciatica
- Muscle stiffness and soreness - Difficultly sleeping - Hip pain - Motor weakness
- Pain upon coughing, sneezing and/or whilst bearing down during bowel movement - Shooting pain into the hips, legs and/or feet - Numbness and tingling to the hips, legs and/or feet
Anatomy of the Core
Typically when I ask patients where their core is, they'll point exclusively to the abdominal muscles. That's one area but it goes much deeper than that. Primarily, it includes the rectus abdominis, transversus abdominis, internal and external obliques, pelvic floor, thoraco-lumbar fascia and many of the spinal stabilizers. We could even argue that the psoas, iliacus, latissimus dorsi and many others are secondary contributors to the core group. Their influence however, is dependent upon the health and stability of the primary drivers.
The image I want you to have in your mind is a letter 'J' that begins at the base of your sternum and ribcage, travels south under your sex organs and anus, and continues up the posterior of your body to the base of your skull. This also expands across the abdomen and lower back, east and west.
From my experience and training, I believe the transversus abdominis to be the essential driver to all the core activation and I've previously discussed its anatomy and function in two previous articles that I highly recommend you read to gain a better understanding.
The bottom line is that when you re-learn correct breathing and activation of your natural corset (or weight belt if you prefer), then you begin to maximize your efficiency of recruiting the core muscles and the final union occurs when you activate and squeeze your pelvic floor muscles during exertion. Check out my first video below - Flat Abs & Strong Back - and rehearse the correct breathing pattern before attempting the second video - Secret Back Strategy for Pain Relief.
A neutral spine would be defined as the position upon which your head is centered upon the neck, the shoulder blades are lightly squeezed together and a small-to-moderate amount of lumbar curve is maintained. In both exercises, the goal is to establish a neutral spine and then maintain this consistently whilst performing them. Ultimately, this will develop your postural endurance and stability that is required for optimal alignment to perform your daily tasks such as driving, sitting in your office or performing manual work. The more often you return and maintain a neutral spine, the less stress, tension and pain your body will experience.
Restoring Balance in 5-Steps
Move - increase your body temperature and blood flow to all your muscles.
Massage - using a partner, lacrosse ball or foam roller to agitate the muscles.
Mobilize - move the joints in their full range of motion.
Stretch - focus on lengthening the short-tight muscles.
CORRECTIVE EXERCISE - focus on strengthening the long-weak muscles.
This week I'm teaching you how to perform a corrective exercise to restore core activation, postural endurance and back stability.
My prescription is to perform this exercise often to help pay down your postural debt due to overuse of some muscles and inactivation of others. Remember intensity is the shortcut to results. In this case, the intensity comes from the volume of repetitions and sets that you perform.
I suggest the following: MAJOR SYMPTOMS - Alternating Superman for 5-20 reps each side, 3+ times per day.
MINOR SYMPTOMS - Alternating Superman for 5-20 reps each side, daily.
NO SYMPTOMS - Alternating Superman for 5-20 reps each side, 3 times per week.
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Yours In Muscle Health,
Jason Barlow, RMT
P: 403 589 4645
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