Don’t Walk Around Engaging Your Stomach Muscles

stomach musclesA great deal of information exists for anyone interested in searching. Look hard enough and you can find numerous points of view on just about any subject.

When it comes to posture and movement many people I respect say things that are the opposite of what I personally espouse.

What I do resonates with some people and not others. Putting oneself out onto the internet allows anyone and everyone to voice an opinion about how silly or stupid you are. And while I receive mostly positive feedback, some of the criticism is withering (and welcome).

This all refers to a session with a client this past week. Some people I work with work with a lot of practitioners. The more the merrier is the approach some people take to changing their bodies, and who am I to say otherwise? More power to them if they can integrate many opposing views.

The client in question was walking around, and while she wasn’t moving poorly, it was clear that she was holding in her stomach muscles. She told me that someone told her that in order to provide better support for her lower back she should gently engage her core during the day.

I have to admit that I love a conundrum of this sort. I really like the person who told her to do this but disagree completely.

Here is the simple explanation I provided to my client.

  • She did need more core tone to support the lower spine
  • She needed to get her legs directly under her pelvis to properly align the psoas which is more important than the stomach muscles for spinal stability.
  • People need to build better tone through specific exercises and improved movement patterns.
  • Engaging your core while going through your daily life can support the lower back but it will almost definitely interfere with a natural breathing pattern and I think the upside is outweighed by the downside.
  • If you are holding your stomach muscles today, how will you know when to stop?

Lots of different practices work. And different practices serve different people. I like to think that I am right about everything but that is pretty meaningless. So I mostly try to help people feel what it is I or any practitioner is talking about so that they can make their own informed decisions about the choices they make on the road to an active pain free life.


On the Level with The Psoas and the Diaphragm
Sunday Morning Music: Into the Woods


sp walking