Charlie Weingroff: The Core and Diaphragm

The body has inherent instabilities . . . as well as built-in methods to create stability. Charlie Weingroff explores the diaphragm as the most important core muscle, ensuring a stable spine in many different positions.

The body has a gyroscope at your neck and at your pelvis. These are the inherent instabilities in your body. Not the lumbar spine. Not your T-spine. Not your cervical spine.

It’s these gyroscopes.

If I had no control, I’d be floppy. I’d be like a marionette . . . If I hold a marionette tight, I can make the marionette do what I want it to do. But if I hold it loosely, it’s going to be very floppy. The marionette represents those gyroscopes.

Remember, a hunched back is a stable spine. It’s not efficient, I can’t extend my hip to move . . . I don’t know if moving like that is a great idea.

I want you to consider these gyroscopes.

Stability is the ability to maintain position in the presence of change. Think of those gyroscopes . . . we have two choices on how we can hold the gyroscopes still.

We can use muscles that are attached to the gyroscope itself. Hip flexors to pelvis, because remember, the pelvis is my gyroscope. Hamstrings to pelvis. We can use those muscles to prevent movement.

Upper traps to neck. Sternocleidomastoid to neck. There are tons . . .scalenes, subclavius. If that’s how we choose to hold our gyroscopes still, then we will take an area that is supposed to have a lot of mobility and turn it stable. I cannot ask my hip to be mobile if the the muscle that are supposed to be mobilizing it are stabilizing it.

That’s my choice to make, but can you see how it may not be efficient? I’m taking a system that is supposed to be wild and using the wild muscles—my shakers, my movers and my gas pedals—and I’m using them to stop movement.

Think about where you see a lot of tightness too. Hip flexors, hamstrings, scalenes.

The diaphragm is the most important core muscle, in my opinion. When you turn the diaphragm on in order, everything else changes. If any of you are familiar with some of the more aggressive training techniques, like power lifting, etc . . . and you are taught to push your belly out against the belt before you go . . . that’s what they are figuring out.

You get “fat” when you go. If I’m on the bench and my technique has me has me pushing out, I want that feed-forward mechanism. That’s technique. You wear a belt to push out against the belt. If something pushes in more, you’ll push out harder.

That’s what many of you know as RNT: Reflexive Neuromuscular Training. Exaggerate the mistake. When we get intra-abdominal pressure against our spine in all of these positions, our spine becomes stable. Then we can deliver.

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