Thanks for your question Caitlin!
When a client says they can’t feel their core it is not generally because the muscles aren’t working. If that were the case, they would not be able to stand up, hold their posture, move their limbs without rolling over, etc. Most often it is because they have little kinesthetic awareness of how they are working. Many think they need to grip and brace their abdominal muscles to the nth degree for them to function. Instead, try taking the focus off feeling the core working, and instead on the movement they are trying to accomplish. If they are doing what is intended, the core is working. For example, if the goal is to keep the trunk still while they do a single leg circle, and they are doing this, yay core! If they are articulating their spine from a flat supine position into a chest lift (ab curl) or bridge, yay core again!
Some clients may have a neurological disconnect from their abdominal muscles, as in the case of a woman who has had a recent C-section. This is even more reason to focus on movements where they can focus on simply keeping the trunk still while the limbs move to challenge core stability and promote a healthy spine. Asking this client to feel their core may be fruitless and may just result in frustration and feelings of failure.
Cue the bones and the rest will follow! (Did anyone else start singing “Free your Mind” by En Vogue?)
We love your questions! Please email holly@movementmonthly to be discussed in a future Ask Holly.
Holly Wallis, Certified Movement & Rehabilitation Specialist, PMA®-CPT
Director of US Operations, Body Harmonics Pilates & Movement Institute
Studio Director, ReActive Movement, 6200 LaSalle Ave, Oakland, CA 94611
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