The power of core: Valsalva maneuver


One of the most thrown out words is “core” training, and the lack of definition lead many to naturally assume the abdominal.

Core strength and stability go hand in hand. Not just how ripped your abs maybe, but your ability to equally distribute a load through your frame.

Many don’t realize that every movement you do factors in a certain level of core conditioning. Yes isolated stability exercises focus on balance, but are more a motor skills control focused routine. Similar to teaching a baby how to stack blocks in order to build coordination from infancy.

A solid heavy lift is often one of the best “core” lift’s one can do as this allows for full mid section and torso activation. Power lifters have been building “core” before it became the cool hip trend to follow, and specialized building power essentially from the inside out. For example one of the early tricks is what is called the Valsalva maneuver¬†which is essentially holding air within your diaphragm which enlargen’s the abdominal walls and generates the ability to assist in maintaining certain postures, in addition to focusing on the anaerobic pathways.

For example watch 80% of people that go in to the gym to do a flat bench or incline, you’ll notice a vast majority attempt to arch their back or create space between them and the bench. This is the absolute definition of weak core and the bodies effort to compensate the load to the spine, in turn can result in a hernia or worst an injured vertebrae. The Valsava maneuver when applied correctly in this scenario would allow for the spine to stay flush with the pad and generate power from the core.

This sensation is experienced by many lifters and is often felt in extreme fatigue when they either forget to breathe, or are physically incapable due to load. Just imagine the shortness of breathe at the end of the set, and the gasp of air to follow.

Best rule of thumb to strengthen the core from within is call creating the “vacuum”. This equates to essentially sucking your belly button to your spine, and holding this posture through-out your day while steadily controlling your breathing.

Continue to do as such and you’ll quickly find yourself subconsciously doing it and you would have to force you core to relax as you have now trained it to remain strong.



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