Core Bracing 101

I know you’ve heard coaches tell you to “brace your core” or “Keep your core tight.” But, what is our core? Do you know how to properly brace your core? If you don’t know the answers to these questions you may be experiencing back pain or be on the path to experiencing back pain!

Ab Muscles

There is a common misconception that if you work your “abs” you’ll be building your “core.” That statement is kinda true, but mostly false. Since the ab muscles are apart of the “Core” you would technically be strengthening part of your core, but you would be missing out on all part of the core.

Core Muscles

As you can see in the above picture, there are 11 major muscles that make up your core. The core surrounds the spine and consists of 3 layers; outer, middle and inner core.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

To brace our Core we need to use diaphragmatic breathing (or “Belly Breathing”). This is slightly different than normal breathing. When we breath normally, we inhale and fill up our lungs. When we inhale and fill up our diaphragm this braces the entire core!

Place a hand on the belly and a hand on the chest. Now breath in. What happens? If your chest rises we need to practice the “Crocodile Breathing” technique. If your belly fills out, then you are properly bracing! When you practice proper breathing techniques, it prevents the core from moving into and unstable position.

Crocodile Breathing

Practicing diaphragmatic breathing while stationary is easy, but how do we brace through movement? This is where bracing can get tricky, especially in our CrossFit workouts. In our workouts we put an emphasis on intensity and speed. How many reps can you do? How quickly can you do it? Yes, we practice good technique, but when we’re tired it’s easy to get a little sloppy.

While we practice diaphragmatic breathing through movement, we may have to take a step back and slow down in a workout. As you develop muscle memory and confidence in your ability to brace properly, you can start to speed up! This is a slow process but its a very important one.


No Weight:
1. Wall Angels
2. Kick Backs
3. Glute Bridges

1. Banded Deadbugs
2. Pallof Press
3. Banded Good Morning

1. Front Squats
2. Strict Press
3. Deadlift

This was a brief introduction to the core muscles and how to brace them for movement. If you have any questions about where you should start or how to practice please contact one of your coaches!



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