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Stronger than a gym full of Aerobicisers!

 

Last issue I addressed the way you can get some very simple exercises into your daily life so that ‘Time Management’ was not an excuse, I mean obstacle, anymore. So those of you that have read the article are obviously well on your way to abdominal recovery by now . . . Aren’t you?!

 

So this issue, because you are all so well practiced at those three exercises, I thought I would talk about Integration. This is probably the biggest failing of the health and fitness industry to date. The modern gym phenomenon that has swept through our culture did so without adhering to many of the basic rules of rehabilitation and instead stuck to the rules of body building. I’ve never had a single client come through my door that knew they had to activate their pelvic floor whilst exercising in the gym.

 

Unfortunately this has created quite a problem today, so gyms have invested lots of money in more and more high-tech equipment that stops you getting injured in their gym but allows you to get injured when you pick up your toddler outside of it. This is because machines like the famous Butt Blaster (where you lay on your stomach and push a weight backwards with your hip to get a killer burn in your backside) has no functional carry over to lifting a speeding toddler into your arms. In fact the false sense of confidence in your strength usually puts you at greater risk.

 

The exercises I talked about last issue are known as isolation exercises because they target isolated muscle groups and get you used to using them. When you’ve given birth, abdominal exercises are all about getting your brain to communicate with those muscles again. That’s why it is so important to do your exercises. Once the brain has established good communication the exercises become so easy that you naturally start to question the point of them and you get bored quickly when doing them. This is perfectly normal behavior because the brain likes to be challenged and stimulated. Even if your favorite TV show is ‘The only way is Essex’ I promise you that you are not actually brain dead!

 

So the brain and the body are seeking new stimulation, they are just begging you to challenge them. So it is now time to go from simple Isolation to more complex Integration exercise.

I say complex but it’s actually really simple and again doesn’t need to take up much of your time. The concept is this:

 

Whilst you squeeze your pelvic floor and pull in your belly button you do some other movement. Simple as that! The difficulty is in the coordination. So lets take a simple movement that you are doing every day and add Integration to it.

The Squat

 

I know this sounds like a meathead’s gym exercise but actually it is an everyday movement for all of us. Just standing up out of bed is half a squat (you got the other half the night before!). So you can imagine then that squatting down to pick up your new born from their Baby Play Gym is a full deep squat movement, with a weight.

So here’s the sequence to practice.

 

Whilst standing over your baby squeeze that pelvic floor and pull in the belly button. Now it is important that you hold this abdominal control while you bend your knees squatting down to the floor. Take hold of your child still keeping the abdominal tension and stand back up.

 

Now if I am going to be strict, and that is exactly what I will be, you need to keep the abdominal control for as long as you are holding the baby in your arms and all the way through putting the child back down. This ensures you keep full support for your back muscles all the time you have the extra weight in your arms. By extra weight I mean your baby, how rude of me to refer to them as just ‘extra weight’!

 

Now this principal can be applied to anything you pick up, whether that be your groceries, your hand bag or a saucepan of warm milk. It goes - Pelvic floor, belly button, lift, carry around, put down, relax, job done.

 

So again, do you need to spend time exercising rather than entertaining your child? No. Just add this small tweak to your daily activity and you will be well on your way to being stronger than a gym full of Aerobicisers.

 

 

 

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