T Nation

Thoughts on Core Bracing

I’ve seen lots of different descriptions of bracing the core (suck in/hollow out belly, contract abs as if getting ready for a punch, etc.). Is it primarily tensing the transverse abdominis (TVA) or the TVA and the lower rectus abdominis (LRA). If you tense the LRA, don’t you move the pelvis into more of a posterior tilt and move away from a “neutral” spine?

A perfect example of where you can easily do a movement both ways is the supine bridge. If you contract the LRA, you’ll feel you are rolling up the lower vertebrae as your hips lift. If you use only the TVA, you will maintain lordosis as you squeeze the glutes to lift your hips.

It would seem that using the LRA is good to improve lumbar mobility (especially those with anterior pelvic tilt and weak LRA), but for resistance training for the legs, it seems that you would want to maintain a neutral spine and pelvic stability - thus, tense the TVA, but not the LRA.

Any thoughts?

Way too much thought into this. Take a deep breath and brace like you’re taking a rather significant dump.

[quote]Doug Adams wrote:
Way too much thought into this. Take a deep breath and brace like you’re taking a rather significant dump. [/quote]

Simple and yet so elegant :D.

Hollowing is a no no, but bracing for a punch, like you’re getting ready to push a car out of the ditch, or taking a gigantic dump are all pretty fair explanations.

Stuart McGill goes a lot more into the fine detail in his book Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance.

Learn to flex your belly out. This is what the strongest people in the world have been doing to lift the heaviest weights. It must be safe because they aren’t dead.

Be Houdini except you don’t want to die