Do you want to strengthen your core muscles? | The ‘Be Activated System’ gives immediate and measurable results!
– Adrien Dannhauser
We always read in health magazine and studies that we need to train and use our core muscles to prevent and cure our injuries. In this article you will learn what the core muscles actually are, how you can start to strengthen it through the ‘Be Activated System’!
What are the core muscles?
Our perception of what the core muscles are has changed dramatically the past 10 years. Researchers used to think that the transverse abdominal muscle are the main muscle that activates the core muscles to give stability. Although the Transverse Abdominal muscle forms part of the core muscles it is now believed that it is NOT the main driver. The core muscles is now redefined as the core canister. It stretches from your diaphragm to your gluteal and psoas muscle in the front. Let’s compare it to the core of an apple. The core of the apple is not just the seeds. It actually stretches from the top to the bottom. The human body also has more that one muscle and structure that forms the core.
The diaphragm is the biggest muscle in the core canister. Research shows that if you can get the diaphragm to contract properly the whole canister will follow. Pilates instructors used to tell people to “pull your belly button towards the spine” before you do any exercise! We need to shift our focus from the transverse abdominal muscle to the diaphragm and rather focus on belly breathing. This is by far the easiest way to get the whole core canister to work properly!
So why is the diaphragm so special?
The diaphragm is our main breathing muscle. Research shows that if you use your diaphragm optimally you can get up to 30% more oxygen to your body.
The diaphragm also has non respiratory functions such as:
- Helps to maintain correct posture.
- Assists movement in the low back (lumbar and Sacroiliac spine)
- Facilitates coughing
- Plays a role in the evacuation of the intestines.
- When the diaphragm contracts it creates an increase in intra-abdominal pressure, thereby promoting the redistribution of the body’s blood.
- Its also has the ability to affect the perception of pain and the emotional state of a person.
- The diaphragm is also innervated by the valgus nerve. The valgus nerve forms part of the parasympathetic nervous system (Help us to rest and digest). It thus indirectly helps to reduce stress levels.
Our bodies have 2 main priorities.
There are two functions the body needs to prioritise in order for us to survive:
- We need to breath! If you don’t breathe you will die.
- We need to move! If you can’t get away of potential danger you could also end up dying. All movement starts at our hips. Walking, running and even doing upper body movements. Think about a sprinting athlete. They use their hips as a power source to drive their bodies forward. A tennis player uses their hips to serve. Psoas and Gluteal maximus are the two main muscles that helps with hip movement (Flexion and extension).
Optimal movement in the human body should happen from the inside out – starting with the core.
If we divide the body into 3 zones it will look like this:
When we move from Zone 1 to Zone 2 to Zone 3 we move in an explosion manner. When the body fires an optimal 123 pattern it gives us more speed, strength, agility, balance and endurance.
Look how young children and babies move and breath! They do beautiful belly breathes and they use the hips to do everything. This is part of the reason they don’t injure themselves.
Somewhere between our busy lifestyles and poor postures our diaphragm, psoas and gluteus maximus went on holiday. We don’t move in the optimal 123 pattern anymore. Instead we adopted a cheat pattern, because we still HAVE to breath and we still HAVE to walk/move. The body is so amazing that if Zone 1 is not working any more it recruits other muscles to do the job of the diaphragm and the psoas and gluts. Movement then starts from the outside in and the result is an imploded state that leads to loss of balance, overloaded muscles, more pain and poor mental ability.
Examples of an imploded movement pattern:
- When we stress, our breathing changes. We breathe more with our upper chest and accessory breathing muscles. The accessory breathing muscles are not supposed to work that hard, and the result is shallow breathing that can lead to a stiff neck and a headache.
- The same principle applies to other injuries. For example, if our cheat pattern come from our foot it can ultimately lead to ankle or foot injuries like Achilles tendinopathy, plantar fasciitis, hammer toes etc.
How can we correct these compensations strategies?
With the “Be Activated System”…
What is the Be Activated System?
Be Activated is a powerful new way of thinking about the human body in a holistic way. The Be Activated System was founded by a South African Physiotherapist named Douglas Heel. It all started 15 Years ago when Douglas got bored with the conventional way of treating patients. He started to explore with the fascia and soon realised there is a lot about the body that we don’t yet know. Some of the answers lies in the fascia network.
The Be Activated system is built on two easy principles:
- Intentional diaphragmatic breathing stimulates the core and balances the nervous system, preparing body and mind for better performance.
- Fascia release techniques re-activates core muscles like the gluteal and psoas muscle, returning the body to its ideal “inside-out” sequence of movement.
The changes are immediate, and the results are measurable. And the best of everything is you can learn how to do it yourself!
Before we go into depth on HOW it works; let first explain what fascia is.
What is Fascia?
Fascia is connective tissue that looks like a spider’s web. It connects the muscles, bone, nerves, arteries and even our organs. It’s a thick gooey web that is interpenetrating everything in our bodies. It’s the glue that keeps everything in our bodies together. The most interesting thing about fascia is that it’s a continuous system, that physically connects our toes to our head.
The main facial lines in our body include:
- Superficial Front Line.
- Superficial Back Line.
- Lateral Line(2 sides)
- Spiral Line.
- Arm Lines(4)
- Functional Lines(2–front and back)
- Deep Front Line.
If you look at the pictures you will see that the middle line actually connects you big toe to you head. The spiral line connects the opposite hip and shoulder. When we start to see the pattern of the fascia one can easily see why some people get injuries only on the left or get neck pain, hip pain and foot pain. The fascia line provides us now of a clearer understanding as to why some injuries are occur.
Check this video if you want to see what fascia looks like under a microscope:
Our way of thinking about the human body has changed quite a bit in recent years. Health care providers use to see the body as they would when they open their anatomy books; clearly defined lines of muscles, nerves, arteries, etc. However, in reality the human body does not look like that at all. When you cut it open, it actually looks like one unit, that is glued together with a “substance”, this “substance” is called fascia. Scientist used to think that fascia are only fillers that the body has to hold everything together. They used to cut it away and throw it in the trash and did not think about it again. But in recent years they have discovered that fascia not only hold everything together is also plays a massive role in movements (Up to 30% of your movements comes from the fascia.
Why does the Be Activated System work?
The fascia system gives us a lot of clues as to why we get certain injuries. With the Be Activated system we are able to identify these compensation patterns. This allows us to very accurately predict the injury risk areas for athletes.
Look at how fascia restrictions can cause range of motion loss in the shoulder joint:
See how quickly we can change the range in our Hamstring muscle if we work on the fascia in the diaphragm:
Below you can also see how quickly fascia activation increase gluteal maximus muscles strength:
How does the treatment work?
Your physiotherapist will work on 14 different fascia areas; whereby she will test each area before and after the myofascial release technique is applied. The results are immediate and measurable. It takes more or less 4 one hour sessions to get through the whole sequence. Your physiotherapist will teach you self-activation techniques that you will continue to do at home for at least once a day for a month.
Can I maintain it at home?
Yes, we will teach you self-activation techniques that you have to maintain at home if you want to see optimal results.
Its recommend that you activate Zone 1 at least once a day and every time before you exercise. It will take you 3 minutes to do the self activation’s.
Do I have to come again once I’m activated?
Its recommended that you come for a second set of activation sessions one months after the first set; thereafter you come every 6 months. The self-activation’s should be continued at least 3-4 times a week and every time before you exercise.
How long will it last?
The success of the treatment will be determined on how committed you are to do your self activations. I you don’t do your self activations your body will fall back to its original compensation pattern. It takes years to break old habits. Our aim is to have you fire a 123 pattern more often. When we are firing a 123 pattern, all the hours of dedicated training leads to more results and less injury and pain.
The aim of the be-activated system is to empower you. If you understand your body’s compensation pattern, you can learn how to control it. Not only will you understand your body better, but you will feel lighter with more energy!