Most programs of physical training now recognize the importance of engaging the deepest layer of muscles at the core of the body during exercise. Various disciplines like yoga, Pilates, and martial arts have their own way to initiate core-based movement.
Just as it isn't necessary to contract the more superficial abdominals and gluteals to engage core muscles, contraction of the pelvic floor sphincters isn't required to engage the core either. During performance of the Body'Fit pHx™ aerobic crossfit shortcut as a warmup cool down or workout, we awaken the deep muscles in the lower belly, not by squeezing the pelvic floor, but thru posture, breathing, and mental focus. Let me explain.
There are five transverse diaphragms between the pelvis, abdomen, chest, neck, and head, all of which need to move freely if the flow of electrolytes along meridians is to be uninterrupted. This is necessary not only for integrating the physiological functions of the five body cavities, it also assists the kidneys in restoring homeostatic body pH for example, both of which are essential for mind body focus). The diaphragm between the chest and upper abdomen moves the most. Our breathing therefore is an important consideration if we want to gain control over the deepest muscles of the body via the five transverse diaphragms. The breathing technique used in pHx increases movement of the abdominal diaphragm by focusing our attention on the CorePoint™. The CorePoint is not an anatomical organ like the kidneys, it's the point of our physical equilibrium in the middle of the lower belly.
So how exactly does this help us engage our core muscles? When we become aware of the Core Point we can sense all the different parts of the body at the same time, so we can breathe more fully and consciously. When we imagine the Core Point as a magnet pulling the abdominal diaphragm down on the inhale filling our lungs from bottom to top and releasing on the exhale to empty from top to bottom, our breathing deepens and diaphragmatic movement increases. By letting the belly relax as the abdominal diaphragm contracts downwards it pulls first on the thoracic, then the cervical, then the cranial diaphragms until finally, at the peak of inspiration, the diaphragm between the pelvis and abdomen is stimulated as the movement of tissues presses down, and the pelvic core is awakened. As the CorePoint release the abdominal diaphragm on the exhalation, it pulls tissues upwards stimulating the pelvic core (pulling on the pelvic floor automatically, toning without squeezing) and the entire core is engaged naturally to stabilize the spine.
Although traditionally breathing has always been part of core conditioning, a more scientific analysis of the components involved in breathing, helps awaken pelvic core muscles more specifically without having to hold in the stomach, squeeze the sphincters or anything like that. In fact you shouldn't initiate core engagement by using the superficial muscles in the pelvic floor and abdomen, it can restrict your breathing. Core engagement must follow the breath, and superficial engagement must follow core engagement. Add the correct posture by tucking in the hips, letting your bones sink into the ground, unlocking knees relaxing feet and you have an effective two-way stretch that lifts you up from the Core Point thru the top of the head. And as you roll the shoulders and pull the lats down and back towards the Core Point, et Voila, you've engaged your core, effortlessly.
NOTE: If you're prepping for yoga, Pilates or your favourite sport by warming up with pHx you've balanced all your muscles, body pH, the carbon dioxide- oxygen ratio and all the neural, endocrine, and circulatory systems in the five anatomical cavities and ready to exercise safely and effectively. Please note Body'Fit pH Fitness™ (short form… pHx™) is currently not available to the public, our apologies for any inconvenience, please contact Meta Living Design for details.