Bracing--turn your core into steel reinforced concrete.


                The art of turning your core muscles into steel reinforced concrete


It’s essential for heavy lifting.  Yes, that is a relative term, but I can’t think of one lifter in the gym who, upon discovering how to breathe for a lift didn’t beat a personal record. 

In a few simple steps, let’s do the same for your max effort lifts—beat them.

Think about your trunk.  This is all of the muscles of your core and you need to make them stiff so you don’t collapse while under the load of the barbell.


Public Domain,


Place your hands just above your hip bones, and tighten as if you are about to be punched.  You should see your hands move apart, just slightly.  This is NOT the “drawing in of the belly button to the spine.”   It’s creating a shield and your abdominal muscles may poke out a bit.

                Let’s get your diaphragm involved.

Take a breath and say, “HA!”  This should activate not only your diagpragm but also your internal and external obliques.

                Lastly, squeeze. 

This is the part I often don’t hear discussed much.  Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles.  Having pushed out 5 babies, this is an important part of my bracing sequence.  Squeeze it like you’ve got another 20 miles to go before the next rest stop!!   Not sure about how to work these muscles?  Stop and start midstream. You know what I mean. 

Hey—peeing on the platform is perfectly acceptable. 

But you might want to avoid is as best you can.


As for using a belt,  I think it’s a great tool.  But only AFTER you have properly learned how to brace without it.  We don’t want you just pushing your belly out into the belt without proper stability.

Prepare for the punch, say HA, squeeze.


Now you may lift.


Women and Barbells

One of my Slim and Well athletes posted a picture of a t-shirt.  It read, "There is a beast in every woman and it stirs when you put a barbell in her hands."  Immediately I though of all the times that I've heard other women say that barbells are scary.  It was for men, it was not feminine, I just can't.  Well, last week I watched someone who thought, "Can't" and in fact, did.  185 pounds came off of the floor. That was her very first test of how heavy she could deadlift.  She was simply stunned.  And the beast awoke.  How many of you are out there still thinking that you cannot possibly exercise with a barbell?  Stop it.  You can do it.

Pick. It. Up.