Enough with the tight abs myth

Old Myths Die Hard

You know and believe the earth is round. (OMG, I sure hope you do!)
You know and believe smoking is bad for you and those around you.
That's just two examples of how beliefs/myths can change due to science and new discoveries.

But one myth that seems to never die is a "tight core" is good for you myth, particularly for those with low back pain.

As a personal trainer and former pilates instructor, I use to push the tight abs agenda too. Now, with more neurophysiology and somatic knowledge under my belt I believe something different. 

Plus, when you read about the original study that set off the tight core frenzy you realize what was extrapolated from the original study was off base. It wasn't that people who were pain free had tight abdominal muscles. The study showed that those pain-free peoples' abdominal muscles contracted slightly (key word, slightly) with certain movements. It wasn't that their abdominal muscles were not chronically contracted. It showed that certain abdominal muscles worked when needed, but not constantly. Yet from that study, the tighten-your-core-for-lower-back-pain myth was born.  

Fast forward to today and we have a low back pain epidemic. If you sit a lot and/or overly train and tighten your abs you actually develop imbalances between the front, back and sides of your body. Which, you guessed it, can cause pain in your back as well as a multitude of pain and health issues due to being so tight in the front of your body (chest and belly).

Oh yeah, and if you also believe core exercises will get rid of fat, nope, that's a myth as well. In class I talk about this too. We'll explore what our middle/belly region does in relation to our posture and alignment of the spine, pelvis and ribcage.

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See you soon!


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