Every one speaks about the core, but typically are only referring to the abdominal muscles when they do so. But it is so much deeper than that… so much deeper!
Your core is made up of the transversus abdominus, which is the deepest abdominal muscle, the multifidus posteriorly (in the back), your diaphragm at the top and your pelvic floor muscles.
For a long time abdominals were trained in isolation but we know that there needs to be a greater move to integrate these muscles and help the “core” to truly function like the stabilizing unit that it is. If one of these groups is not working efficiently then it can translate to inefficient functional movements, the things that you do on a day to day basis.
In a properly functioning unit, the core is activated even before you do just about any task. This system is always working, and functions in coordination with your breath.
Typically when you breathe in the diaphragm descends and your pelvic floor relaxes and moves downward. When you breathe out, as the diaphragm moves back up to its original position, the pelvic floor recoils. Optimizing this has much to do with your posture and as such postural awareness while performing tasks is key to being as efficient as possible with those tasks.
If you want to know more about this phenomenon, check out Julie Wiebe, PT via: http://www.juliewiebept.com/video/how-should-you-breathe/ who has done significant research in this area.
Try this exercise:
Sit on a chair, making sure that you are sitting directly on your sit bones. Back erect and palms wrapped at the sides of your ribs almost as if wrapping from the back to the front. If you want, you can take a wash cloth or a face towel, roll it and place it length-ways at your perineum, running from the vagina to the anus. Take a deep breathe in, feeling your ribs expand to the sides and your abdomen forward. As you do so, also pay attention to the pelvic floor descending onto the wash cloth/ face towel. Now breathe out slowly, feeling the ribs recoil, the abdomen reduce and the pelvic floor recoil from the face towel/ wash cloth.
Now try this again, but with the pelvic tucked, the shoulders rounded and in a slouched posture and consider these things:
1. Can you feel the same amount of excursion of the ribs? Are you able to take in as much air?
2. Can you feel the descent and rise of the pelvic floor onto and off of the wash cloth/ face towel?
This is a nice quick way to easily see and feel the connection between posture and the pelvic floor. You can also try this is standing, assessing for quality of movement based on the postures that you assume.
Feel free to comment or ask questions.