T Nation

How to Embrace the Core


#1

Hi friends,

Im now in off-season mode and hence getting ready to do some serious strength work. Im going to start from scratch with my squats and deadlifts which I have been avoiding in-season(semi pro sooccer player) and also after a fairly serious lower back injury.

Anyway, something that I have never really mastered is embracing my core/doing the valsava method, while deadlifting and squatting.

What are the best ways to practice this? What cues should I be using? Any insider tips?
This is something that i truly believe often gets neglected by beginners and those training beginners.

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#2

Imagine taking a crap while keeping your back door shut. That’s intra-abdominal pressure, the feeling that someone’s pumping air into your stomach.
Stand straight and push your hands into your side, just above the hip. Now take a DEEP breath and inhale in a way that makes your waistline expand. Breathe into your gut. When you’re done inhaling, keep that air inside for a moment and then, all other openings clamped shut, press it out through pursed lips.

If you find you’re lost, look for a vocal coach and take a lesson. I’m not kidding, they are good at teaching you how to maintain pressure since you need it for singing.


#3

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:
Imagine taking a crap while keeping your back door shut. That’s intra-abdominal pressure, the feeling that someone’s pumping air into your stomach.
Stand straight and push your hands into your side, just above the hip. Now take a DEEP breath and inhale in a way that makes your waistline expand. Breathe into your gut. When you’re done inhaling, keep that air inside for a moment and then, all other openings clamped shut, press it out through pursed lips.
[/quote]

So your saying take a deep “belly breath” and then hold it? When doing deadlifts is it best to do this before or after going down to grip the bar?

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#4

[quote]theBird wrote:

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:
Imagine taking a crap while keeping your back door shut. That’s intra-abdominal pressure, the feeling that someone’s pumping air into your stomach.
Stand straight and push your hands into your side, just above the hip. Now take a DEEP breath and inhale in a way that makes your waistline expand. Breathe into your gut. When you’re done inhaling, keep that air inside for a moment and then, all other openings clamped shut, press it out through pursed lips.
[/quote]

So your saying take a deep “belly breath” and then hold it? When doing deadlifts is it best to do this before or after going down to grip the bar?

tweet[/quote]

Yes. Well, it’s only part of it. You also need to feel the pressure in your belly; it will stabilise your core from within.

I actually had to stand up and mimick a deadlift to be able to answer your second question. The answer is: Whatever feels best. The crucial point is to get into a good, tight starting position before you pull; body tension is crucial. Your low back should form a straight line and your belly be visibly pushed put.


#5

This thread might help you :wink:


#6

[quote]theBird wrote:

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:
Imagine taking a crap while keeping your back door shut. That’s intra-abdominal pressure, the feeling that someone’s pumping air into your stomach.
Stand straight and push your hands into your side, just above the hip. Now take a DEEP breath and inhale in a way that makes your waistline expand. Breathe into your gut. When you’re done inhaling, keep that air inside for a moment and then, all other openings clamped shut, press it out through pursed lips.
[/quote]

So your saying take a deep “belly breath” and then hold it? When doing deadlifts is it best to do this before or after going down to grip the bar?

tweet[/quote]

Pretty much, but you have to actually squeeze your abs super hard. Like when you were a kid you tried to turn your face red by pushing all the blood into it. But yes, most DEFINITELY a belly breathe not a chest breath.

I prefer to get the breathe before I dip to grip the bar, but I don’t spend very much time at all after I grab the bar before starting the pull (maybe…half a second?). If you spend a lot of time with your hands on the bar you might want to take a breathe after you grip when you’re ready to start pulling.

Basically whatever nighthawkz said, do what feels best.


#7

perhaps something a bit different…

i’ve been playing for a while with holding my hands around my lower rib cage - like a belt - and taking deep breaths in to feel it really expand out against my hands (front and back). so… not so much a ‘belly fill of air’ as a rib cage full of air. Starting out doing this, at least, and then trying to brace / hold tight once full.

i was surprised to find this:

squats, milk, and pullovers, they say. breathing pullovers. i’m not entirely sure what it is doing… i suspect it has something to do with the diaphram… perhaps stretching the intercostals / ribcage… I think it helps full with air. I think it also helps bench arch…

i also found this:

My case might well be different, though. I have shallow breathing after years of smoking. I have abdominal spillage… And anterior pelvic tilt from many years of sitting.

It is strange… Mostly I have eliminated sitting. And my back is doing great! It doesn’t take much, though. Couple hours sitting and my back hurts. Like… Like I’ve tweaked it a bit squatting kind of hurt.


#8

[quote]alexus wrote:
breathing pullovers. i’m not entirely sure what it is doing… i suspect it has something to do with the diaphram… perhaps stretching the intercostals / ribcage… [/quote]

It stretches the costal cartilage. Whether it really works for ribcage expansion, I don’t know… but between those, breathing squats, and dips, I ended up with costochondritis. There’s no real complications from it, it just hurt by my chestplate until it healed.