Get Tight and Do Your Business

Strength Training on Trails
When it comes to athletics and coordination I can be a bit of a slow learner. Sometimes it takes me a while to get something. Take jumping rope, for example. I jump rope every time I do a workover as part of my warmup. I used to jump rope all the time as a kid. You would think I would know how to jump rope by now, right? Wrong. At any given point in my warm-up you will see me get whacked consecutively in the back of my head with the rope. "Thud, thud, thud." Yup. I'm sure its quite entertaining for people who happen to be watching me. And its not like this happens to me on occasion. Its EVERY time I jump rope. So pretty much EVERY time I go to the gym you can be guaranteed a snicker and a giggle if I'm there. Everybody says my rope is too short. I checked. Its not. I'm just lame.

So here's another discovery that's taken me a while to get.

Getting tight.

I'm not talking tight as in "cool" or "hip" or tight as in "she's got a tight ass" although that's getting close.

I'm talking tight as in I need to tighten my core so that it can support whatever movement I'm about to do.

My recent workovers included a note from Seth that stressed the importance of this tight or "braced" position. I guess I never really realized how important "getting tight" was. Apparently, very important for EVERYTHING. In fact, here's what he said...
"This braced position is where you need to be before squatting, deadlifting, doing pullups, having sex, doesn't matter, get tight and do your business!"
Yes. He said "having sex." Dude gets really honest with me sometimes. But after I told him I peed my pants the first time I had to jump rope as part of my workover everything was on the table after that. He sent me a link to this video. If you're a woman who's given birth and has struggled with a weak pelvic floor you might want to check it out. It stresses the significance of doing a kegel before getting tight for any movement, including running. Apparently the order in which you do this is important. First kegel, then get tight. My only concern was that kegels could inspire, well, a whole "chain of events". But I've said enough on that topic. So...moving on.

So, if you're still thoroughly confused at what this "braced position" actually is (also called neutral or pelvic tilt) here's how to find it:

Lay on your back with your feet hip width apart and knees up. Relax. You may be able to fit your hand in the space between your lower back and the floor. Then flatten your stomach drawing your belly button to your spine so feel your lower back flat against the floor. The space between your back and the floor should be gone. The guy in this video demonstrates how to find the neutral position.

So why was this discovery of how to "get tight" so important?

Because I believe it can make a difference in my running.

After feeling a little tightness in my knee on a recent trail run (which by the way, was absolutely amazing!) I decided to do a little experiment. I focused on tightening my core a little to find this "neutral position" while running. I wasn't fully braced like I would be for lifting weights, but only slightly engaged. What I noticed after I tightened my core a bit was the little pulling in in my knee started to dissipate. 

Granted, we stopped a lot to climb boulders and goof around, but I think my little experiment worked. At the very least I have another tool to try.  I admit I have more work to do on this, but it makes sense. Controlling my pelvic tilt seems to align my body better for running.

And about that run... My husband and I went for a five mile run to explore some trails on Thursday. We found some beautiful terraced hills and oak lined valleys with some awesome single track trail. We climbed boulders and hills and ran along the ridges just outside our neighborhood. I even did a few trail pullups. Check out my mini MovNat vid below.

And you know what? I even did some design concepting during my run!! I will be making some new Tees to include in the Zaps Threads' store and will be posting the giveaway soon. I'm not quite done yet so hang tight! Ha! 

Oh... and if any of you have any ideas as to a specific kind of tee design or slogan you want to see on a shirt feel free to share your ideas in the comments below. I'm totally open.
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  1. Krista I love your blog. It is bloggers like you that made want to create my blog. I hope someday gets as good as yours.

    1. Dude! Thanks so much. I just blog because I love to write. I think its cool to know that at least one person cares and is inspired by it. Thanks so much for letting me know.

  2. *laugh*. I never realised I was teaching this technique whilst I was coaching my friends.

    When trying to teach them posture, I found that the usual "raise arms to the sky, then let the arms drop" wasn't sufficient to tighten up their core.

    So I added a new step. "Bum in, Tits out".

    This pulls the pelvis forward and engages the core. It made her form a 1000% better. So all I need to do is find a way of telling her to squeeze her inside female squishy bits before she pushes her "Bum In, Tit's out". Umm.. now can I do that delicately?

    It's me of course not.

    Thanks for an interesting article!

  3. Funny you should mention the pelvic tilt, that was part of the Chi Running course I did a couple of months ago and they really stress the importance of keeping the pelvis level during the run using a slightly tense lower abs.
    Great post :-)

  4. Thanks for the tip.

  5. Hi Zap,
    Its good to know that women have problems with skipping ropes too. I'm usually to embarrassed to try skipping as I am pretty unco when it comes to a rope. The women usually do a skip session with all fancy moves and I wouldn't dare pick up the rope after that.



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