Today’s PrimalMed Prescription….Don’t fall Part 2
Don’t Fall is one of PrimalMed’s most important and honored bromides. How many times have you heard about the core? Why is a strong core so important?
It’s summer and the “show” muscles are on full display at a beach near you! Jacked dudes in T-shirts displaying biceps and pecs. Looking good, right?
It is one thing to look good in a T-shirt or for that matter, look good naked however, it won’t mean a thing if you don’t take the balance of your posterior chain into account.
When we stand, gravity is trying to force us down. The simple act of standing is an exercise of not falling. We need to tighten our abs and butt to stand straight and not lean forward. Now that you’ve got standing under control, try walking, or walking down a slope, or up an incline. You are challenged to not fall. NOW, try running. You can’t run squeezing your glutes unless you want to audition for the Monty Python silly walk club. You CAN however walk and run with an engaged or tightened core.
The Posterior Chain is almost everything except the pecs and biceps. It is the back and butt and hamstrings. It keeps you upright, and not looking like a jacked, swole knuckle-scraping cro-magnon.
Lets get back to the core and how to “work” the core. DO NOT do crunches. Crunches SHORTEN the abs and strain the neck. They work the most superficial abs and don’t improve functional strength. You want to strengthen and elongate your abs. You need to strengthen the deep core, a little known and oft forgotten muscle called the Transverse Abdominis. Repeat after me, TRANSVERSE ABDOMINIS.
PLANK, PLANK and PLANK ! One of the most honored PrimalMed approved movements is the Plank. When you stand with your gut engaged and tightened, you are doing an upright plank!
Plank on your elbows! Plank on your hands! There are a zillion variations of the plank, but I would say do standard planks on your elbows and work your way up to side planks. Work your way up to 2 minutes. Start on your back, and pull your navel to your spine. Feel the deep muscles spread out and you do a move called the Pelvic Tilt.
Let’s get back to the Posterior Chain now. We all sit for way too long and that makes for a sleepy butt. Your glutes spend most of the day flaccid and asleep. There is an actual thing called “dead-butt” syndrome. See the folks with a swayed back, always complaining about their aching back? Dead-Butt Syndrome.
“Hey PrimalMed, how do I work the posterior chain?” So glad you asked! Here’s the deal. Start simple. Go to your friendly internet search engine, or the YouTube and look up these starters:
Prone leg extensions and butt kicks and clam shells.
Do ’em all with a pelvic tilt and tightened gut. NO CRUNCHES !!!
No I am not going to tell you how to do these and NO, I am not going to provide links to thirst trap videos of the tan and toned influencers doing planks and birddogs. The first step of improvement is empowerment, right? The ol’ “teach a man to fish rather than feed that man a fish” aphorism will serve you well. My job is to give you the GPS and let you figure out how to get there.
See those Shiny Happy People in the first pic?
See the next generation of Shiny Happy People?
They don’t think about their core. Oh yeah, they are gonna fall. But they bounce like rubber biscuits and get right back up. For us older folks over the age of 30, you have got to train yourself NOT to fall. The first step of not falling is to the train your body to engage the core and strengthen NOT only your abs, but your deep abs and side muscles and your posterior chain.
Do some planks with your partner or loved one. Have your pet dog or pet goat watch. Do it in the morning and do it at night. Core on the floor or core when you are standing at the local farmer’s market and watching the masses with swayed back, weak glutes and aching backs. Nobody has to know you are secretly doing a standing plank. When you shower, do a standing plank and squeeze those buttocks. Your spouse may think you are a tad crazy, but then again, perhaps he/she/they have not read Today’s PrimalMed Prescription. You have!
Originally published at https://tedmetzgermd.substack.com on June 26, 2022.