Proper Core Training: How To Connect Your Core and Pelvic Floor

By Ann Wendel
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What does it mean to "integrate the core" or to "connect" your diaphragm and pelvic floor? What is a Connection Breath? Why is this so important?

A strong, properly functioning core is the foundation to all healthy, pain-free movement. However, there is a lot of misinformation—and misunderstanding—on how to train the core for optimal function.

When I talk about the “core,” I’m talking about the deep central stability system, made up of the diaphragm, pelvic floor, transverse abdominus and the multifidus. These four muscles need to work as a coordinated system, along with the glutes, in order to provide a stable foundation for the body’s movements. In a nutshell, this system is not static. It’s dynamic.

The system is in constant motion as you inhale and exhale all day long.

The pelvic floor is one part of the system but doesn’t work in isolation, as I discussed here. The pelvic floor/deep central stability system turns on first, before you make any movement in your body.

When the system is functioning properly, it moves like a piston (a great image from my friend Julie Wiebe, PT). On inhale, the pelvic floor is relaxed and on exhale, it rebounds up to support the system. When your ribs are aligned over your pelvis, and you grade your pelvic floor contraction to the task at hand, you are setting yourself up for success.

I teach all of my patients how to connect their core and pelvic floor by first explaining the system, and then having them access it in different positions with different tasks. Today I’m going to talk you through the instructions in the video below, and have you try a few activities.

Note from GGS: We get a lot of emails from readers who are dealing with some level of pain or movement dysfunction, or who have been nursing an injury that's keeping them from fully participating in work, daily activities, and hobbies. While there isn't one uniform solution for everyone, including some injury prevention strategies (including practicing your core and pelvic floor connection) in your overall training plan is a good place to start.

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About the author:  Ann Wendel

Ann Wendel is an internationally-recognized women's health Physical Therapist (PT), a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC), and a Certified Myofascial Trigger Point Therapist (CMTPT). In addition to owning and operating Prana Physical Therapy in Alexandria, VA, Ann writes, travels, speaks, and consults with other physical therapists and business owners. You can connect with Ann on Facebook and Twitter.

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