how to brace your core

Are you using your core effectively?

Have you heard the term “BRACE” before by a coach?

This isn’t just tensing your abs.

Today I’m going to dive into what we mean by this in the most simple way possible. 

Despite what a lot of instagrammers say, doing endless amounts of sits up(flexion & extension) isn’t going to build a big strong core for heavy lifts and a functional core for everyday life. (They just like to show off their 6 packs)

The main function is to protect your spine through anti flexion/extension, anti rotation, anti side flexion/extension. 

Yes, we do need movement in our spine for everyday…but from a more training/lifting point of view we want to be strong and stable.

Have you ever seen how thick-set weightlifters, powerlifters & CrossFit athletes are around their trunk?

That is purely from the right core exercises and bracing correctly under heavy loads.

So…How do we brace?

Big breath in.

Expand your trunk 360º

Hold that shape through the movement. 

One simple way to feel yourself bracing correctly is to grab a resistance band, ideally one that you can tie around your midriff. Once that is tied around (sorry it may feel uncomfortable and pinch), now take your breath in and push your trunk in a 360º manner against that band. 

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Dr Aaron Horschig explains it perfectly. Take two coke cans for example, one empty and one full. Now if you were to stand on the empty can, what is going to happen? It’s going to crumble right? And what happens to the full can of coke…it holds your weight and keeps strong.

Think of your brace as that full coke can. Create stability through your trunk to withstand more weight. What we don’t want to be is like the empty can crumble due to poor bracing and unable to bear as much load. 

Stronger brace = bigger lifts.