Shoulders back and down. Shoulders back and down. I’m saying this like a mantra, a silent repetition in between other thoughts. I am fighting years of bad posture.
If I pull my shoulders back as if thrusting out my chest, and then lower them down so that I’m not halfway into a shrugging motion, this is better for my overall body. So far, I feel all these little muscles that are tense from wanting me to hunch forward. Sometimes, I feel a twinge down the muscles nearest my spine. The one that’s doing the most twinging is called the rhomboid.
The other thing I’m doing is pulling my belly button away from my belt by sucking in my gut. No, not vanity. I’m working something called the transverse abdominus. Now, I’d never heard of this thing before, but it’s a big band of muscle around your belly that manages all kinds of core strength systems in the body. In my head, I’m thinking of it kind of like a big piece of calamari. I probably would find this particular effort stupid had I not noticed IMMEDIATE improvements in other parts of my workout.
After only a couple of days of the whole belly button gut pully thing, I’m getting much better results when working my lower abs. I can do leg raises and flutter kicks like the best of them. And oh, the plank. Do you know the plank? That’s when you look like you’re going to do a pushup, only you’re resting on your elbows. Then you just stay in that position with your back and legs straight as a board. Try it. Try doing it for longer than a minute. Well, thankfully, the calamari exercise helped that out.
The mindset behind the Core Performance workout is that everything I do should serve multiple purposes. If I’m stretching, it should also be strengthening my muscles. If I’m working my stomach, it should also be doing good things for my legs or my shoulders. Everything is much more holistic — whole — than in typical workouts that feature single-bodypart exercises. I like that. It works for me.
Shoulders back and down. Shoulders back and down. Bellybutton. Bellybutton. If I look deep in thought, there’s a small percentage chance that I’m actually just thinking about my posture, at least until it comes naturally to me.