Core Stabilization: Debunking the "Sucking In" Myth

If You ‘Suck In’ - You’re Suckin’!

Most of us were taught at a young age to suck in our bellies and tighten up our core. The majority of trainers and fitness gurus thought this was the ideal way to stabilize the spine and hips based on research indicating that drawing your navel to your spine engages the core in a proper fashion to achieve optimal stabilizing results. This research is outdated and, to put it plainly, wrong. The ‘suck and tuck’ method for spinal and hip stability during exercise has been largely discredited and is no longer part of the curriculum in many higher learning institutions and rehabilitation clinics.  The research now points in the opposite direction. 

We have learned that sucking in disrupts the proper function of our diaphragm. Remember, the diaphragm is the sheet like muscle separating our lungs and abdominal content. Diaphragmatic function sets the stage for proper core stabilization. When the core (low back, pelvis, hips) is optimally stabilized, the dome of the diaphragm flattens out, thus pushing the content of our abdomen out 360 degrees. This creates pressure outward and down into our spine and pelvic bowl.  (See images)  The pressure is how we maintain a safe environment for the low back and hips.

By creating a fixed point, all limbs can pull from a stable base safely and with more flexibility.

Over time, lack of proper stabilization of the inner-center of the core ultimately affects the stabilization of the rest of the body and impairs our ability to move efficiently and safely. Once we relearn how to activate the core from the inside out, we increase our functional range and reduce the chance of injury by correctly loading through all the joints – a process called Joint Centration. 

Stay tuned for our next blog, Stacked or Jacked?! The art of stacking your joints to prevent injury. 

 

Resources

Hans Lindgren: Core Stability from the Inside Out: www.hanslindgren.com/articles/core-stability-from-the-inside-out
Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization: www.rehabps.com