If you've ever done a class with Grit Fitness, you're well aware of the term "Abs tight ladies!!" So what exactly does this mean? And why does your trainer, (not mentioning any names here), repeat this over and over again throughout a class?
Well first and foremost, what do we mean: Pull your belly button in toward your spine (without holding your breath) and hold it there. At the same time, hold your shoulders back and down, and tilt your pelvis ever so slightly forward - this engages your entire core. Your core muscles involve the stabilizing muscles that run from your shoulder blades down your spine, the 4 muscles that make up your 'abs' (transverse abdominis, internal and external obliques, rectus abdominius), and the major muscles of the hip.
There are a couple of reasons that holding your core tight during exercise is so important:
1 - Your core is responsible for supporting your entire body - a strong core improves your posture, helps you move smoothly, boosts your workout performance, and protects your back and hips during strenuous movements.
2 - Holding your core tight while you exercise is actually an incredible "ab workout" helping you achieve a smaller, tighter waist line.
So why do we remind you relentlessly? Because it's easy to forget! As we perform strenuous exercises like squats, bent-over rows, burpees or planks, there are so many things to think about and focus on, that it's easy to forget about the stomach and just let it sit there. Not only is this a wasted opportunity to work your core, but also puts your back and hips at risk leaving them unsupported and at risk for injury.
The good news is, just like any other muscle, your core muscles have memory and become stronger with practice. Every time your trainer reminds you to "pull your abs in", and you engage all of the muscles of your core, they will become stronger and more prepared so that they will be there to support you when you need them most! Whether it's bootcamp, kickboxing, lifting a child, vacuuming, or even something as simple as bending over to dry your feet after a shower, a strong core is invaluable!