Why sit ups might be damaging your core

Have you ever noticed when you do sit-ups that your stomach turns into a funny shape? That’s because your core is like a pressure canister and instead of the pressure being managed correctly, everything is squishing out in all the wrong places: putting forward pressure on your abs (which will make a diastasis worse), and putting downward pressure on your pelvic floor (making prolapse and leaking worse), and not to mention making your back pain worse.


When I say sit ups, I’m referring to any core exercise where you lift your head and chest off the floor. So sit ups, crunches, the Pilates 100s, series of 5 etc.


If you ever notice weird shapes happening in your stomach like doming (looks like a stomach mohawk), or coning (looks like your abs are sinking), you should immediately back off. If this is happening, you won’t get a stronger core by “just doing more”. You won’t. I can promise you.


What needs to happen first, is that you need to teach your body how to manage this pressure.

  1. Partly it’s a mind-body connection. We need to become more aware of what is happening in our core so that we can do something about it.
  2. Partly it’s a mechanics issue. We need the diaphragm (the breath), and the pelvic floor to sink up with each other as they are what make up the top and the bottom to this pressure canister.
  3. Partly it’s a strength issue. If there is no strength in the pelvic floor, there is no bottom to your pressure canister.


I created a two-part, super quick video on instagram to help explain the pressure mechanics in more detail. Check it out below by clicking on the links.

Part 1

Part 2 


Your challenge for this week is to do my entire breathing/pelvic floor training whilst sitting on the foam roller in this way. And then email me and tell me if it finally makes sense?!


Always rooting for you and your core!

Emma xo


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