The Core Method
Updated: Sep 26
Fitbirds offer group classes & 1:1 personal training for all women. We specialise in fitness for women from all walks of life & we specialise in prenatal & postnatal fitness. Rehabilitating women post birth is to be treated with care, respect & compassion. New mamas can be overwhelmed, feeling an overload of hormones, exhausted & unable to recognise their body. So many of the women we meet are in a constant state of fight or flight, they are going about their day as if they are running from a lion, yet they are meeting deadlines, keeping a household afloat or caring for their baby - every day life stuff. When we are in our sympathetic nervous system, correct breathing is compromised which triggers a domino effect throughout the rest of our body. Signals are sent to the major systems in your body raising the alarm bells of stress & dis-ease.
Fitbirds create a space where all birds, mama birds included feel safe & supported. We provide an environment which allows each woman to connect with their own body & mind. It is only when we are able to bring ourselves into a state of rest & repair, into our parasympathetic nervous system that we can truly begin our healing birds.
Here at Fitbirds, we have created a safe & effective method to ensure we find your deepest & strongest core. The Core Method uses 4 main steps: 1. DIAPHRAGMATIC BREATHING 2. PELVIC FLOOR & TRANSVERSE ABDOMINIS CONNECTION 3. MOVEMENT WITH INTENTION & BREATH
4. RELEASE & LET GO Together utilising all 4 components we are able to rebuild & reestablish our deep core connection. But without one or the other, or the mis-management of your PF or deep core muscles you may be delaying the healing & rehabilitation process or even do more damage. First it is the AWARENESS of how you currently breathe. Then you need to understand how to direct & tune into your correct & natural diaphragmatic breath. Once this is established, the key is to correctly recruit your deep core muscles in the correct order. You'll hear our trainers & teachers often cue you to "lift & hug" or "lift & wrap" or "draw up & corset". This order of 'lifting' your pelvic floor muscles & then 'hugging' your transverse abdominis ensures you are safely set up to begin moving, while your deep core muscles are effectively recruited. Otherwise you could be putting downwards pressure onto your pelvic floor while preforming core loaded movements. So always 'lift' first then 'hug'. We use our EXHALE with an "s" sound to preform the exertion (hard part of the movement) while we are still 'lifted & hugged'. The exhale is the breath which will tell your PF & TVA to activate. When we breathe correctly into our diaphragm, the inhale naturally softens (or lengthens) your PF muscles. When the exhales happens the PF muscles naturally rebound (or shorten).
Diaphragmatic Breathing: TRY THIS Sit stand, lay comfortably, shake it off. Place one hand on your heart & one hand on your belly. Breathe in & breathe out. Keep breathing & notice where you can feel movement. Is your belly rising with your inhale? Can you feel any movement into your back ribs? Can you feel movement in your chest or shoulders on the inhale? How does your jaw feel? Diaphragmatic Breathing is: A 360 breath into your whole torso. INHALE belly, ribs & back body swell & fill with air. EXHALE belly naturally & softly hollows & emptying of all breath. Now, place your hands onto your belly & lower ribcage, your middle fingers pointing towards your belly button. EXHALE & let go of your breath. Do this again, but place one hand on to your back body ribcage & send breath there. What did you notice? Any movement within your belly, side bo Hopefully this sneaky trick of exhaling first sent you straight into diaphragmatic breathing. Is this breath does not come naturally to you - practice, practice, practice. Practice in the shower, on the toilet, while you're drinking your coffee, waiting in line, driving the car. Keep breathing like a baby birds. Pelvic Floor & Transverse Abdominis Connection: TRY THIS
Place your hands back on your belly & lower ribcage, middle finger pointing towards your belly button. INHALE belly rises, fills up with air & your ribcage expands EXHALE & LIFT your pelvic floor muscles from front to back (from anus to vulva) On this same exhale HUG your TVA, gently use your hands to encourage your lower ribs inwards, your middle fingers edge closer towards your belly button. INHALE let go, belly rises (diaphragm breath) pelvic floor lengthens EXHALE lift all four corners of the pelvic floor & hug your corset, ribcage knits even closer. Repeat, repeat, repeat. You have now safely & effectively recruited & engaged your deepest core muscles. This practice can be used as early as week 1 of fourth trimester rehab or throughout pregnancy, or to simply begin prep or deep core exercises!
Connected Core Breath: TRY THIS So now you are aware of how to breath correctly in the diaphragm. We also know how to use our diaphragm breath to engage our deep core muscles. Now we learn how to STAY correctly engaged while performing core holds & exercises. This technique adds a layer to bring the deep core muscles into challenge. Inhale belly rises, fills up with air & your ribcage expands Exhale lift your pelvic floor & hug your TVA Inhale into your chest while maintaining your lift & hug. Exhale lift & hug even deeper. Continue this throughout your core exercise, with each exhale try to deepen your lift & hug. Of course at some point your pelvic floor will 'run out of juice' or you may not be able to feel much 'lift' but this is the purpose - keep that awareness & keep the lifting & hugging whilst inhaling into the chest to challenge your core muscles. Movement (and exercise) with Intention & Breath: TRY THIS
Heel Slides. Get down birds, lay on your back, knees bent, feet on the floor. Place your hands onto your lower belly & begin diaphragmatic breathing. Feel breathe enter your whole torso, including the ribs pressing into the mat. Inhale a full deep diaphragm breath, slide one leg away from you, keeping the heel pressing into the mat Exhale 'LIFT & HUG', bring the leg back in, by digging the heel into the mat.
Inhale into the chest retain that deep core connection, extend the other leg away from you. Exhale lift & hug even deeper, drag the heel back towards you, heel pressing into the mat. Repeat for 15 reps x 3 sets (or as many are you feel able to) Glute bridges. Get down birds, lay on your back, knees bent, feet on the floor. Place your hands onto your lower belly & begin diaphragmatic breathing. Feel breathe enter your whole torso, including the ribs pressing into the mat. Inhale a full deep diaphragm breath. Exhale 'LIFT & HUG', rolling the hips up off the mat. heels pressing down, curling through the spine.
Inhale into the chest retain that deep core connection, release the hips back to the mat. Exhale lift & hug even deeper, roll the hips back up, heels pressing into the mat. Repeat for 15 reps x 3 sets (or as many are you feel able to) Toe Taps. Get down birds, lay on your back, knees bent, shins parallel to the ground. Feet hip width apart. Inhale a full deep diaphragm breathe, lower one leg down, toe taps the ground Exhale 'LIFT & HUG', lift the leg back to start
Inhale into the chest retain that deep core connection, lower the other leg down, toe taps the ground. Exhale lift & hug even deeper, lift the leg back to start These two classic core rehabilitation exercises, Toe Taps & Heel Slides are winning go-to excerises throughout the fitness industry. But without the correct recruitment of this network of deep muscles & use of correct breath you'll take much longer to heal or just waste your time, and who's got time to waste birds? These two exercise can be done as early as week 2 post birth. Start from No1 & work your way up. Repeat for 15 reps x 3 sets (or as many are you feel able to)
Release & Let Go: TRY THIS Sit or lay with the intension of releasing into the hips. This is best accessed while in a hip extension position, like cross-legged, butterfly pose, pigeon pose or figure of four. While in a hip extension your pelvic floor muscles are given a helping hand to relax & lengthen. So simply we now ask you to close your eyes & feel for movement within your pelvic floor. We allow your easy diaphragmatic breath to return, which naturally encourages a gentle movement within your pelvic floor. INHALE pelvic floor lengthens & softens, EXHALE pelvic floor naturally rebounds & shortens. Now is the time to lean into the softening & lengthening state. We must ensure we walk into the day with an awareness of the natural movements of your pelvic floor. Soften & lengthen your belly & pelvic floor birds. This will all take practice birds. Some may find the most challenging part is to breath correctly into the diaphragm, others the chest inhalation while other struggle with pelvic floor connection. Practice & repetition of using the Core Method. your weakened or mis-recruitment of deep core muscles will respond & muscle memory will eventually take the lead so you can walk, move & play freely, trusting your body will catch you!
We absolutely love to support our postnatal birds, reach out to us if you ever have any questions or worries. Shani x