Core Strength—A Different Approach for an Aching Back Part 2

September 20, 2010

In my last post we explored the idea of contracting the gluteous muscles; for some of you it was perhaps an eye opener to realize that you had no idea how to consciously engage that muscle group and had to spend time locating and prompting them to respond. If you didn’t try part A of this Feldenkrais® Awareness Through Movement® lesson click here and you can do that before you go on to the next piece.

Part B
This brings us to balance.  Balanced glutes are an essential component to developing core strength or more importantly, core organization; it’s the synchronization of these muscular contractions and releases that help your back to feel supported as you move through the activities of your day. When working with the glute muscles you need to begin in balance otherwise, one side will continue to be stronger and the other side will always be playing catch-up; imbalanced glutes is one of the things that strongly impacts chronic back problems.  To find out if your glutes are balanced, do the following:

  1. A few times tighten each glute separately.  Notice if one has less strength than the other.
  2. THE FOLLOWING IS VERY IMPORTANT SO PLEASE TAKE NOTE: The side that has less strength is now your baseline and you will squeeze both glutes this lesser amount for the rest of the lesson.
  3. When the instruction asks you to do one side at a time always begin on the weaker side so that you are sure just how much you will need to tighten on the other side.
  4. If both sides of your glutes are about equal you can start on either side; the following set of instructions will still help to improve your muscle tone.

Part C
Do the following movements mindfully repeating each numbered sequence 3 or 4 times. Keep your breathing light and relaxed. Remember to keep the effort even on both sides. 

  1. Starting with the weaker side, tighten and release the gluteous muscle a few times.
  2. Repeat instruction #1 on the other side remembering that you’ll contract the glute on this side the same amount as you did on the other side.
  3. Now, alternate the squeezing so that you squeeze one side of the buttocks and then the other. KEEP THE AMOUNT OF CONTRACTION  THE SAME ON BOTH SIDES. Also, if the rest of your trunk is relaxed and you’re remembering to breathe, you’ll begin to feel a rocking motion as you go from side to side.
  4. Let that go and rest for a few moments.
  5. Tighten both sides together. Remember that if there is still an imbalance do the lesser amount on both sides. Do this slowly a number of times. 
  6. Now, make a pulsing movement with your glutes as you tighten and release both sides many times.  Start slowly and gradually increase the speed until you are “bouncing”.   Reverse the process until you are squeezing very slowly and then stop.
  7. Let all that go and relax. 
  8. Tighten one glute, release it and then, tighten the other glute and release it. How do they feel now? Are they a little more balanced?  

Of course there’s more to core organization and improving your back than simply squeezing the gluts but this is a good place to start. Take it from someone who’s had personal experience, ,balanced muscle tone is a very important aspect of a healthy back.

If you have any questions or comments visit me, as feldylady on Twitter or on my Facebook page under Sandra Bradshaw, Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner.



There are no comments on this post yet.

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®.