How I used Postnatal Training to Improve my Physique as a Bikini Athlete
1 month before I was set to start my 2nd bikini prep, I strained my upper Rectus Abs (top part of the 6-pack abs). It happened while I was pushing out 1 last chin up, so it's safe to say that my form wasn't ideal by that point.
Luckily for me, I just happened to have started my postpartum corrective exercise course, so I got to work on my own rehab.
Injuries suck, but as a personal trainer, an injury is an opportunity to learn and get stronger.
That injury shed light on the fact that I probably hadn't been firing my Transverse Abs (TVA, deep core) for at least the last 10 years... which had me feeling pretty sheepish since I'm always nagging at my clients to engage their core :P
So I started learning how to fire those deep core muscles, which led me to discover that because I wasn't able to stabilize my core, I had been moving my spine through all my lifts. Instead of moving my shoulder blades up and down my back for overhead presses and pulls, I would move my shoulders blades a bit, and then flex or extend my spine for the rest of the lift. Rude.
Where does the bikini/bodybuilding stuff come in? Right here!
There are so many muscles involved in any movement or lift we do, and our muscles get stronger when they go through those movements under progressing loads. Once I stopped moving my spine and actually taking my muscles through their full range, I started to notice more growth. Basically, I was always missing either the very top or very bottom range of a contraction (or sometimes both!), so the muscles would never get trained at those positions.
It took A LOT of practice to learn how it felt to maintain my core for maximum mobility, but because of it, I can now see huge changes in my muscular development. And for those of you who don't give a flinging flanging hoot about bodybuilding, think about the improvement in muscle function and longevity of the spine and joints when we find that core stability.
It's time to stop cheating your movements and build a healthy, functional physique!
Questions? I'm here to help!
Certified Personal Trainer
Certified Pre and Postnatal Exercise Specialist
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