AS A WOMAN, YOUR CORE NEEDS THIS
Having a strong core is extremely important. The core’s musculature gives it the ability to have a global effect upon the body – both negative and positive.
As I discussed in my two previous articles, A BIG REASON WHY WOMEN HAVE NECK AND SHOULDER ISSUES and DO YOU HAVE A STRONG CORE, issues you have in various parts of your body (such as your neck and shoulders) can be addressed by strengthening the core. Also, your core training should be individualized and based on the muscular imbalances found in your core’s basic movements of flexion, extension, rotation, and lateral/side bending.
The most frequent core muscular imbalance that I see in women is in their ability to laterally bend or side bend. This is what a standing assessment might look like:
When you assess your side bend imbalance while standing, the side OPPOSITE the one with the least range of motion is the side that you should first look to address. This is because your opposite side core muscles are lowering and raising your core against gravity.
Also, what I tend to notice after further investigation into a side bend muscular imbalance in women is that the inverse of side bend, hip elevation (the ability to lift or ‘hike’ your hip) is where the root of the imbalance lies in most women. Because there are muscles that attach from the core to the hip (and across it), your hip’s stability and strength affect your core, and vice versa.
Some common symptoms of a hip elevation or ‘hip hike’ imbalance include:
1.) Leg length discrepancy (one leg is, or at least appears to be, longer than the other)
2.) Knee, back, neck and/or shoulder pain/discomfort
3.) Loss of mobility or flexibility in the hips, back and/or shoulders
If you can strengthen the area where the core connects to the hips (circled in the image below), you can reverse a hip hike muscular imbalance. Here is one of the easiest, safest, and most effective exercises I use to strengthen the hip-core connection.
In the case of the example shown in Image 1, you would use this exercise on your left side, because the right side has the least range of motion.
First, elevate your feet slightly so that you are already in a position where your hip is starting to elevate. Then gently contract the muscle of your hip so that your hip starts to slide up towards your ear, and ‘crunches’ the space between your hip and side core muscles.
You can do this exercise once a day, 10 repetitions, and hold the contraction at the most crunched position for 3 seconds for each repetition. This gentle muscle activation overtime can have a dramatic effect on your hip’s ability to elevate efficiently.
Especially in women, your hip-core connection is very important to maintain. And now you have a simple exercise in your tool kit to keep you hips and core healthy, stable, and mobile
Yours in health and fitness,
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