How to strengthen your core with a balloon!Jan 14, 2021
Poor breathing patterns, posture and trunk stability are frequently associated with musculoskeletal dysfunctions like low back pain.
The pelvic floor, TVA, and diaphragm are key to stabilizing your spine and maintaining good posture.
When the pelvic floor aligns with the diaphragm, we're creating something called a Zone of Apposition (ZOA), the ideal position to create stability and balance in the system.
It is here that we are able to create intra-abdominal pressure.
Think of a sealed pop can versus a open pop can. Crushing the can would be very difficult while sealed (has intra-abdominal pressure), but very easy while open.
The same rules apply to the core.
When we don't have this optimal ZOA, the lower back is arched, the pelvic floor is tilted down and diaphragm/ ribs flared up, there is much less stability.
The diaphragm is less able to draw in air and stabilize the upper body, causing a shallow breath. This will cause tightness in the neck, upper back, and chest.
When the lower back become excessively arched and tight, it leads weak abs and this can cause lower back pain, instability in the pelvis and thus sore hips and knees.
Forcefully exhaling is a great way to get the core musculature to aid in the process of creating the ZOA by pulling the ribs down and relaxing the muscles along the spine.
(Not recommended for those with prolapse or diastasis who have not yet learnt how to manage pressure/ or breath properly)
The balloon creates resistance during exhalation, requiring an increase of the abdominal muscles to exhale. You can think of it similarly as how we would add resistance to a lunge, to strengthen your legs.
Besides added resistance, the balloon is a great way for clients to learn how to breathe optimally by getting all of their air out.
Getting all of the air out to allows you to get a full breath in so you can fully relax the pelvic floor. Which you need to get maximum contraction from the pelvic floor or core.
📚🧐 Boyle, KL, Olinick, J, Lewis, C. The value of blowing up a balloon. North American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. 2010; 5(3): 179-188.
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