My client May has been doing many different workouts for years. She's a strong one - she doesn't fatigue easily, and she can be pushed pretty hard.
Although she's worked her way through some plank variations and core exercises, May was having trouble understanding what all of our (her instructors') cues meant, and was having trouble feeling her intrinsic core engage.
Yesterday, although I had a ton of cardio-focused moves combined with heavier strength moves planned for her, we ended up getting swept away with determination toward her visualization techniques, to help her contract her core with her brain and tweaking to the bodywork. A lot of our focus was spent on using her diaphragm, and learning to breathe properly during our work, and otherwise.
The result was pretty amazing, as May felt her intrinsic core finally, and her form in her other exercises such as lunge, squat and row variations changed dramatically. Once you learn to engage your core, your serratus participates better. The glutes participate better. Alignment falls into place, and functional anatomy hits a high note. Do you know what that feels like? It feels like pain free, satisfying success.
One of the things that I love the most about personal training is the conversation between the trainer and the client, and how that strengthens the conversation between the client and his/her body. Different people respond to different cues or analogies, allowing them to better internalize the points on form, which entirely changes the way moves are physically executed. It is my job as a trainer to come up with creative visualization techniques and analogies to hit the client right in the gut (pun intended) of their understanding.
Here's what May had to say for us yesterday:
“I’m finally engaged! It was a revelation - I had been working out for years, but with help from Jessica’s cues I was able to fully understand what engaging my core meant!”
We have some wonderful, progressive work ahead of us. Great movement and two happy kids.