Whether you want to improve performance in Sports, Training, your CrossFit workouts, or even just have less pain/tightness on a daily basis, learning how to BRACE and Breath correctly can have huge benefits.
To start: What is Bracing?
Bracing is a term or a cue to help create stability in our midsection to keep us safe and increase the amount of weight we can lift or positions we can hold. Imagine I gave you a full unopened can of soda (which you would not have because you don’t drink sugary drinks that rot your teeth and result in declined health) and asked you to try to crush it, it would probably be pretty hard or near impossible. But, if we were to open the can and pour out the soda and then try to crush it, it would be a piece of cake. Our core is like that can, if we fill it with pressure, we can withstand a lot more weight. In order to brace properly you need to create intra-abdominal pressure, or in other words a lot of pressure in your stomach that pushes against the front and back of your midsection. Bracing and intra-abdominal pressure have a lot of benefits including:
· Increased spine stiffness leading to improved ability to transfer strength
· Synchronizing our muscles in our midsection for increased stability
· Aids with stabilizing our lower back and keeping it neutral
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While there are a lot of benefits to bracing we need to make sure we’re doing it correctly. Here’s 3 Tips to help you control that core!
- Try to stay away from overextending our lower back and raising our chest. When we are in extension with a heavy load or even body weight, this creates a lot of pressure in our spine and can lead to tightness or pain especially in our lumbar spine over time.
- Fill your stomach and lower ribs with air and hold that tightness in your midsection during a particular rep or drill
- Try to avoid wearing a belt for sub-maximal training. Any exercise that is not testing a near max shouldn’t require a belt. If we rely on a belt for the majority of our lifting the body and core will become dependent on that external assistance.
If you or someone you know has major issues with pain, training, or pelvic floor issues please contact a specialist for more specific help! Click HERE for more info
Author: Jon Lueng
Richard Ulm, (2022, October). Mastering Brace for Performance and Longevity [Seminar Presentation]. SWIS Seminar, Columbus, Ohio, United States.