Yoga Tune Up® Yoga Tune Up Blog » Tubular Core: En-CORE-Age a Muscular Orchestra that Illuminates your Mid-Section

Tubular Core: En-CORE-Age a Muscular Orchestra that Illuminates your Mid-Section

A six-pack obsession is in full swing – topping the list for many well intended yogis and fitness enthusiasts is figuring out how to tame the bulge. With a smorgasbord of “magic bullet” recipes for rock hard abs, the truth of core strength can leave one perplexed, without results, or even worse with an imbalance resulting in a global deficit that expands much greater than the core. Regardless the case, I think you should brace yourself (pun intended) for what I am about to share with you will change your outlook on your core and transform your “ab-earance”.

Since the core consists of more than just the muscles that form the “washboard abs” that are reflected in the mirror, it’s critical to acknowledge what the core unit truly is. While what you see does play a key role in our core’s strength, integrity of the core comes from optimizing global muscle activation and coordination around the entirety of the spine.

Core abdominal musculature image

Learning to engage the entirety of the tubular core is ideal for maximizing spinal stability.

Canadian personal trainer John Paul Catanzaro, BSc Kin, CSEP-CEP, quotes low back specialist and lecturer, John Casler, when he admits that “the abdominals themselves cannot push out – they can only be pushed out by the forces of intra-abdominal pressure (IAP)” – this is what creates a very strong & rigid, tubular torso. Catanzaro also notes, “It’s pretty interesting, too, that kids naturally push their tummies out when lifting an object from the ground!” If you don’t believe John; go ahead and try this for yourself, stand in front of a mirror and force all the air out of your lungs and try to push your abs out…it won’t happen without compromising IAP.

This secure “life-vest” sensation occurs due to the rise in inter-abdominal pressure during abdominal bracing, which is a very good thing for the spine. Within this perspective, the muscles of respiration, the serratus group, deep spinal muscles and the famous abdominal muscles must learn how to communicate and collectively work together without deficit in order to increase stiffness of the torso and stabilize the spine.

If just one piece of the core unit’s puzzle shows a lack of participation, abnormal patterns and pain may appear in other regions of the body. Research from the Queensland Australia group showed “that the transverse abdominus (TrA) is recruited later in Low Back Pain patients, which led to speculation that it was related to an unstable or unhealthy spine” (Basu, Arijit).

Tubular Core en-CORE-ages a muscular orchestra, rather than a solo contributor experience that when done properly can be felt internally and externally palpated. It feels as though the whole torso is securely bubble wrapped from throat to pelvic floor without strain or stress. The synergy that occurs during tubular core is the same circumstance one instinctively does when bracing for impact, when lifting heavy objects, and literally any activity that requires spinal stabilization.

Stop leaving your spine vulnerable and retire the idea of hollowing out the core! Brace yourself for my next article where I will teach you how to activate your Tubular Core and when to use it.

 

Resources

 

Enjoyed this article? Read Coregeous Moves to Erase Back Pain next.

About This Author

Baylea is a student and teacher of mindful movement. Her teaching style nurturing yet playful. Her classes are inspired by her own self inquiry and fascination with the human body and it's resilient host, the individual. Teaching as a 200-hr RYT since 2009 and becoming a Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant in 2014 has propelled her down a path of empowering individuals to restore the relationship with their bodies. With a trained eye in movement patterns and applicable therapeutic interventions, Baylea's intention is to awaken individuals to the reality of functional and sustainable movement as a foundation to overall health and well-being. It is Baylea's belief that your yoga practice, sport or fitness regimen should enhance your quality of life long after you've stepped off the mat or left the gym; therefore, setting a standard for quality movement and biomechanics is of upmost importance. Along with being a Yoga Tune Up Level 1 Practitioner, Baylea holds current certifications in Original Strength, and Clubbell Yoga by RMAX International.

Tubular Core: En-CORE-Age a Muscular Orchestra that Illuminates your Mid-Section

  1. aniela eva says:

    Well written. YTU has taught me how to engage properly the entire core. It changes everything when the core is properly engaged. My back and shoulder pain has been relieved tremendously!

  2. Karina says:

    Tellement important de nous sensibiliser sur le fait que le tubular core est une manière de protéger sa colonne. Nous voyons trop la santé de la colonne de manière compartimentée, mais tu as très bien imagé à quel point tout se synchronise et s’influence. À quel point le tubulaire core est comme une veste de sureté est une image qui reste et démontre très bien l’utilité de la chose.
    Merci beaucoup !

  3. Krysten Hills says:

    Learning how important it is to have a strong tubular core for so many reasons has been really eye opening for me. Having given birth 5 months ago, I am now working towards stregthening things I had taken for granted prior to my pregnancy. I’m looking forward to reading your next post.

  4. Marthe says:

    My observation is that many students who walk into your classroom have a limited perspective on core strength sometimes tied up in ideas about “abs of steel” and endless repetitions of traditional abdominal exercises. Usually when we think of core muscles, it’s most likely to be the rectus abdominus—the most superficial abdominal muscle that in our minds create the appearance of a six-pack and makes us want to do more of the traditional abdominal crunch. This article reminds the importance of thinking further about the deeper transverse abdominus muscle which provides more of a constant girder of strength and stability. One is also reminded about the respiratory diaphragm which is the muscle that is truly at the core of the body.

  5. Ekaterina says:

    Activation of the Tubular Core is great for supporting and stabilization of the spine, especially of lumbar spine, which is a big issue for many people. Thanks for article

  6. Cheryl says:

    I loved your descriptions for activating the tubular core…life vest sensation, abdominal bracing, stiffness of the torso and muscular orchestra. Total core is not only important but a requirement for movement safety.

  7. Dominique Pelletier says:

    J’aime bien le commentaire ” cesser de laisser votre colone vertebrale vulnérable “.

    Depuis mon training YTU, j’ai compris et assimiler tout le concept et compréhension d’engager le corset tubulaire. J’y ai vue tout l’importance dans le quotidien mais aussi dans mes futurs classes de yoga

  8. Évelyne Paquin says:

    Un nouveau concept à appliquer dans mon cas. J’ai longtemps eu l’habitude de faire référence au nombril tiré vers la colonne, pensant atteindre une pleine stabilisation de la colonne.
    L’image de la veste de sauvetage qui s’active pour faire référence à la pression intra-abdominale sera ma nouvelle référence afin de mieux guider mes clients.

  9. Évelyne Paquin says:

    Une belle découverte pour moi, dire que tout ce temps je créais l’effet inverse dans mon corps en tirant le nombril vers la colonne me pensant pleinement en contrôle pour stabiliser ma colonne de façon sécuritaire. L’image de la veste de sauvetage est très forte pour représenter l’effet de la pression intra-abdominale sur la stabilisation de la colonne. Je tenterai d’utiliser cette référence dans mes classes à l’avenir.

  10. Rena says:

    Tubular core. So much to become aware of and so much research being done! Who knew?

  11. Janine Watson says:

    Your metaphors are great. Bubble wrap, yes! As is the reminder that deep muscles are stabilizing ones working as an orchestra.

  12. Michelle Pitman says:

    Thanks for this article on moving from hollowing the belly to bracing instead. It’s something I’ve been working on myself, trying to redeem throughout the day to engage tubular core that support my spine and daily movement!

  13. Andrea says:

    I really like the idea of “optimizing global muscle activation and coordination around the entirety of the spine”. We so often forget about the sides and back body, and from throat to pelvic floor. It’s not just the washboard abs we need to consider. I also like your clever wording.

  14. Penny says:

    It is remarkable how much tubular core strengthens and stabilizes every pose. It has really helped serve as a reminder to me to engage and brace myself as I breathe and move. Game changer.

  15. Karen Stillman says:

    Love the example with the kids, and cannot wait to see it in action. And so very true of the population wanting some quick fix without the work.

  16. Stephanie says:

    This post is entertaining and informative! This notion can’t be stressed enough. We live in a time when everyone wants great abs but has no time to work their lower back. I love the analogies you use, it helps to really get the message across.

  17. Laura Cornish says:

    As a pilates instructor, I am used to “pulling in” my abdominal muscles. The whole idea of bracing will take some getting used to. I’m still not clear on why Imter-abdominal pressure is so important, but I will keep reading!

  18. Adriana Robertson says:

    Thanks for sharing this great reminder. I love the idea of the core being a muscular orchestra, rather than a solo contributor. I look forward to reading your follow-up article.

  19. Kayla Lee says:

    Tubular core is something I am working with right now. My entire core is pretty much a blind spot for me. The sensation of being bubble wrapped from throat to pelvic floor is something I haven’t experienced yet but I look forward to your future articles on how to get there!

  20. Christina Carballo says:

    Great way of describing the core as a whole and not just those washboard abs. I like the bubble wrap description from the throat to the pelvic floor to offer stability to the spine. Very well written.

  21. Willow says:

    Baylea, you are so punny!! Thank you, this was really informative about how the entire core is important and how pain in the body can occur just from unwittingly neglecting certain muscles within the core. I always have focused on hollowing during core work now I’m switching to bracing.

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