Have You Been Cheating in Your Core Exercises!?

core spine Nov 29, 2015

Did you know that most people cheat themselves during their abdominal workout? One of the most important things is to keep a neutral spine. What's that, you ask? Let me help you find it. So, let's lie down on our backs.

When you are laying flat on your back, there should be four points of the body touching the mat: Your feet, the back of the pelvis, your upper back, and the back of your head.

There will be a little bit of a gap under your lower back. Your sacrum should be on the mat. For those of you who don’t know, the sacrum is that big bone right in the center of the pelvis.

What I see often, is students pressing the lower back down into the mat and put themselves into a slight pelvic tilt or pelvic tuck. I don’t want you to do that. I want you to allow your tailbone to drop a little bit and create a bit more of a space between you and the mat in your lower back. At the same time, we also have a tendency to press the chest up and open the rib cage. We don’t want that either. We want to keep the ribcage down, but not tuck the tailbone.

So, it's very important that we learn how to move the upper and the lower parts of the abdominals independently. Let's try this out:


  • Bring your hands behind your head and elbows up towards the ceiling. When we keep our elbows wide, it causes us to tense up our shoulders and that's not what we want.
  • Check in with yourself and make sure that your not imprinting or pressing your back to the floor. You keep the sacrum on the mat, and a little gap under your lower spine.
  • Inhale to prepare and on the exhale to try and curl your head and shoulders up. Now, REALLY IMPORTANT: you’re still not tucking your pelvis, right?
  • Your sternum bone slides down towards your pubic bone in order to bring your head up, then slides away from your pubic bone to bring your head down. Your sternum is sliding down and away, but your pubic bone stays in the same place. It is much easier to do it wrong and allow the two to move towards each other, but you are not maximizing the amount your muscle has to work. Obviously, when we maximize the amount one particular muscle is working we will be getting a better workout.

Try this out on your own and be patient if it is really difficult in the beginning. You really have to focus. Even if you just do a few repetitions the right way, you will be getting a better workout. So, when you feel like you're losing your focus, pause, take a break and come back to it when you're ready. It may take days of a few reps to get this down so again, be patient.

Get tips like this one delivered straight to your inbox!

I promise I'll only send relevant stuff, and you can unsubscribe any time.