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Core Training #1: Abdominal Bracing

Category : Exercise

At XO Fitness, we always coach our clients to “brace your abdominals”  during core work…especially when performing planks. “Bracing” means tightening your mid-section all the way around not just “sucking-in” your belly. Instead, you need to tighten your muscles the way you would in anticipation of a) being tickled; or b) being punched in the belly.

Practicing abdominal bracing on the stability ball

Practicing abdominal bracing on the stability ball: Lori is pressing on Ryan’s hands…if he does not brace his abdominals she will push him off the ball.

 The way we get clients to “feel” abdominal bracing (no we don’t punch anyone in the gut) is by asking them to sit on stability ball with their arms extended out at shoulder height and hands together. Then we push on their hands…if they don’t tighten up their core and “brace” they’ll get pushed right off the ball!






Another great way  to feel this is to lie on your back with knees bent and spine in neutral. Reach your hands up to the ceiling (palms facing in) and then lower your arms straight overhead leading with your thumbs. Notice how your back has an tendency to arch and your rib cage to “pop-up”…OK, don’t let that happen, instead use your core to keep your rib cage down and your spine in neutral. Feel it?

Starting Position

Maintain neutral spine as you lower arms overhead
DO: Maintain neutral spine
Do not allow spine to arch or ribcage to pop-up
DO NOT: Allow spine to arch