Core Strength—A Different Approach Back Relief

September 17, 2010

Effortless movement; what a concept! We see kids climb, run, kibitz and contort in a million different ways; their bodies are transparent and even when they hurt themselves it’s no time before they’re up and running. As adults it’s hard to remember a time when we had that kind of movement available to us; add to that a chronic back problem and it’s almost painful to watch kids turn themselves into human pretzels.
So what happened? Actually that’s the wrong question. A better question would be: what do I have to do to be able to move without discomfort and pain? Developing core strength is one component of the mix.  For the majority core work is challenging but doable; for others, core strength is a completely foreign concept and they don’t have any idea how to access their core let alone begin to use it.  So how do we develop our core?  If you’re having trouble finding your core try this simple Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement® lesson to begin your exploration and in the process it will give your back the support it needs to help it on the road to recovery.
Part A

  1. Sit towards the front of your chair with your buttocks firmly planted on the seat, your legs free to move and your feet solidly on the floor. 
  2. Squeeze your buttocks together and release.  You are using your gluteus muscles to perform this movement.
  3. Squeeze your left glute only and release.
  4. Squeeze your right glute only and release.

Were you able to locate and squeeze both glutes together?  Did the tightening of one glute lag behind the other or were the two sides synchronized?  Were you able to squeeze each glut independently and with equal ease?

  1. Lift one side of your pelvis enough to slip your hand under your sitz bone.
  2. Push into the muscle around the sitz bone with your fingers and use the muscle fiber in that area to push back against your fingers.
  3. You’ll probably feel your abs engage and but there will also be some tightening and contracting of your glute muscle.
  4. Move your fingers over a little and repeat the pushing with your fingers and the contracting of the muscle.
  5. Continue doing this until you’ve worked with the whole area. Now bring your hand back to you lap and tighten the glut you’ve just worked with to see if there’s more response than at the beginning.
  6. Now go to the other glute and repeat the sequence.

If you found this little exercise easy then you are already using your core muscles.  If you found the previous sequence difficult the next set of movements should help you improve your ability to coordinate, balance and synchronize the glutes in preparation for further core work.

To Be Continued...

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Feldenkrais®, Feldenkrais Method®, Awareness Through Movement®, and Functional Integration® are registered service marks of the Feldenkrais Guild® of North America. Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner ™ and Guild Certified Feldenkrais Teacher ™ are certification marks of the Feldenkrais Guild®.