One of the interesting things I’ve learned in my career as a physical therapist is that many peoples’ injuries stem from weakness in the core. You may not associate the pain you’re feeling in your hamstring to the core, but I’m here to let you in on a little secret—the core is the foundation for all movement. In fact, every move you make, both while exercising and in daily life, will be so much easier if your core is showing up and doing its job. Not sure what the status of your core is? Here are 7 signs of a weak core.
1. You avoid lifting heavy things. Saving the heavy groceries for your significant other to bring in the house? Minimizing how much you pick up your kids or grandkids? Your back feels sore after working in the yard or shoveling snow? These are all signs that your core is weak. Your body will always take the path of least resistance, and sometimes that means avoiding activities that your brain and body think will be too challenging.
2. You feel off-balance. Do you find yourself always reaching for the handrail on the steps? Avoiding walking through the grass or gravel? Lurching to the side as you walk or do stairs? This could be indicative of a weak core. If you don’t have good foundational support, your body will try and get it elsewhere, like reaching for that handrail or sturdy object.
3. You slouch. All posture is driven from your low back. Guess what supports your low back? You got it, that’d be the core. The core is the foundation for your neck, head, and shoulders to have good posture. If you find yourself constantly slouching, chances are, you need to build up your core strength.
4. Your back is sore. Do you have to stop doing things like walking, yardwork, bathing the dog or kiddo, cleaning the house, or playing in the backyard because your back is sore? This is another sign that your core doesn’t have the strength and endurance to keep up. When your core runs out of stamina, the stress that it had been supporting falls on other structures. Cue the back pain.
5. Your hamstrings and hip flexors are always tight. Sitting isn’t the only thing that can make these muscles feel tight. They can actually be over-worked as a result of core weakness. Your body will do its best to find a way to complete a task. If your core isn’t strong enough for the task, other muscles, such as the hip flexors and hamstrings, will kick in to get the job done. When this happens over time, those muscles start feeling tight and stiff.
6. You can’t sit without back support. Do you find it hard to sit on the floor, a stool, or stability ball for more than 5-10 minutes? This comes back to the core too. Your core is the foundation that holds you up when you have nothing to lean against. If it is weak, you’ll find that the rest of your back gets sore and tired pretty quickly if you sit without back support.
7. You hold your breath while doing core exercises. You have the best intentions and do lots of planks and crunches, but you hold your breath and don’t feel like you’re getting much stronger. That’s because when you hold your breath, you are just bracing all your muscles instead of actually engaging your core the correct way. With a strong core, you are able to breathe while doing your core workout.
Have you experienced any of these things? Even if it’s only happened a handful of times, it’s time to take action. Don’t worry—you’re not alone! While there’s no easy way to strengthen your core overnight, the good news is that you only need to commit to 10 minutes per day.
Bulletproof Your Core will teach you how to activate your core the correct way so you can overcome any of the setbacks listed above. Claim your access here.