One of the more common complaints you hear from female athletes revolves around having a bit of difficulty holding their “water” during exercise (especially during impact activities like double unders). You may also see other athletes struggle to keep neutral posture during a movement such as the deadlift, snatch, or clean. Both of these problems have the same root source.
Lack of strength in some of the deeper core musculature means a loss of power, a loss of technique, and the possibility of injury – not to mention the occasional wet spot on the floor that has nothing to do with a “sweat angel.” Our core is the base we work from, with the intent of creating movement and power around a stable object. The problem is that the object (your spine) doesn’t stabilise itself – it takes effort.
Having good spinal stability is important to movement, injury prevention, and recovery from injury. Have a shoulder problem? Fix your posture. Does your knee hurt? Fix your posture. Headache? Fix your posture. It’s not the only answer to what’s ailing you, but it’s rarely not part of the answer. It’s just too important to miss, but people do anyway.
Ask yourself: When you “tighten your core,” what muscles are you using? Does your posture change? Does your pelvis tilt forward or backward? (Hint: if the answer to either of these last two questions is “yes,” then you’re doing it wrong.) You can take a look at what’s going on in your core, and how it should be working, here.