For some clients, being in the prone position means rest time for the abdominals. This couldn’t be further from the reality. Engaging the core during prone exercises helps keep the spine in optimal neutral alignment and it helps the body more efficiently use the muscles that the exercise is meant to work. Perhaps most importantly, though, it prevents us from “falling” into our lower backs.
Relying on the low back muscles during prone exercises is a common mistake even from really strong clients. It can cause unnecessary tightness, strain and even injury in the low back.
While clients’ natural inclination is to “let it all go” through the tummy during this type of exercise, they are also keenly aware of the difference they feel from an efficiency and a comfort standpoint when they do engage their abdominals. As soon as they tighten across the core and lift the abdominals away from the mat, they can feel a change to their spine position, which in turn changes the entire output of the exercise!
To initiate this engagement and to remind them throughout the repetitions, try having them imagine a blueberry (or other soft, messy item) under their belly button. Challenge them not to squish it!!
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