Tag Archives: six pack

Mel Collie | Is your neck stronger than your core?

Mel Collie | Is your neck stronger than your core?

Core exercises are all the rage and have been for years, they’ve been embedded into our heads from fitness classes, magazine articles and celebrities shouting that you should all the doing core strength exercises, however.. if you are, and seeing minimal results, why is that and what can you do about it…?

  1. Do a core exercise you are familiar with.
  2. Now do it again and be aware of the following – clenched jaw, tilted head position, lifted shoulders, tight diaphragm, clenched toes.
  3. Why those in particular? Well, these are a few compensatory ways of using what we believe is our “core” when in fact, the connection between brain and “core” isn’t as strong as we believe.
  4. It takes a brave person to admit they have a weak core,  I see it a lot os weak “core” muscles in my NKT sessions.
  5. If you aren’t stable in your centre, the extremities will take up the slack, you will experience tightness in arms, legs, jaw, neck, pelvic floor or diaphragm.

A simple example :

Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor.

Now lift both arms up to the ceiling, palms facing each other.

Now lift your feet, knees stay bent at 90 degrees, so the knee line is above the hip bones.

Breathe in

Exhale as you, slowly lower the right leg towards the floor(leg can stay bent or straight, depends on your current level of core connection)  and the left arm back

Keep the arm straight, keep the knee bent.

Inhale come back with arm and leg.

Change sides as repeat.

Compensation points to check:

Chin lifts as your head drops back

Shoulders lift

Breathe holding

Toes lifting or clawing at the ground

Pelvic floor clenching

Ribs lifting

Glutes squeezing

Eyes closing

 

It doesn’t have to be a check list of all of these, but it could be one or two that you may notice.

Work on correcting those and your core exercises will take off.

Stick with the compensation patterns and they will get stronger, not your core.

How can you tell? Get assessed by an NeuroKinetic Therapist (NKT) or have your compensation check list as listed above and listen your brain.

Be your brain. Where does your brain go to when the core isn’t connecting.

What does your brain do?

Mel Collie

www.melcollie.com

Core Strength & Your Jaw

Core Strength & Your Jaw

Sit ups, planks and push ups- all favoured as core exercises, and core strength is supposed to be enhanced by practicing them for many reps or keeping the position held for a few minutes, I used to go to a Pilates class where they insisted you Core & Your Jaw wern’t strong if you didn’t hold your plank position for more than 5 minutes, in fact they wanted you to do it for 8 minutes…

However..

A little bit smarter and wiser , I wish I could go back to that class with the knowledge I now have to see what was being used as compensation – a tight jaw, held breath, tight shoulders, tightness in the back of the neck. All of these are used as compensations, cheats by the body when its searching for strength because its failed elsewhere, usually in the core.

The jaw is a common one. With todays anxieties, worries and fears, tension in the jaw is commonplace when the brain seeks stability, especially if it isn’t getting it from the core muscles.

So next time you are doing your core exercises, check what is happening and where you are compensating.

  1. Breathe out through the mouth to avoid jaw clenching.
  2. Keep the back of the neck long to avoid using this area for strength.
  3. Watch you aren’t breath holding, the diaphragm can become facilitated for a weaker core.
  4. Ensure the upper shoulders are away from the ears
  5. Watch your toe position and that they aren’t clawing at the ground, a classic compensation for a weaker core.

If you’ve been doing these for a while, your compensations may also be present in everyday life, you may find you hold your breathe often, your toes might already prefer the clawed position, your upper shoulders may find they like it near your ears and are always tight..

What can you do about it?

Awareness is a great start, you might not like it, but regressing your reps and take it slow. Record yourself with a camera/mobile and see whats happening when you play it back, are your shoulders in a good position, when does that begin to falter? Do you hold your breath, at what point is that?

That is where your neural edge is, the brain compensates, thats when you stop and rest until you are ready to go again.

You can also practice your breathing as this can improve a  load of issues, if the brain is happy with the oxygen amount, its happy giving you extra strength to a certain degree.

Stabilising from the centre out is always a good place to start.

Melanie Collie

www.melcollie.com