Back to Basics for a Strong Foundation


We all want to be fitter and stronger that is why we workout BUT what if your foundation isn’t there to build on?

Would you build a house in the sand? No!  It might look sturdy on the outside but over time it’s going to break down…same with your body.

You can workout all you want and see gains but over time if your core (foundation) isn’t there you are going to have issues i.e. back pain, knee issues, shoulder pain, just to name a few.  These are a direct result to loading a dysfunctional foundation with dysfunctional movements!  You need to strengthen your core!

***When I say ‘core’ I’m not meaning those 6 packs we all want, but our deep core- our “inner-canister” which consists of your transverse abdominis, multifidus, diaphragm and pelvic floor.  All these muscles must function together efficiently otherwise stability is being compromised.  Think of our inner-canister as our stability belt that holds us together and allows us to sit, stand, run, jump, etc.  If we aren’t engaging our deep core our bodies will start to go to other joints seeking stability.  This is where trouble comes in- our knees or shoulders aren’t meant to give our bodies stability that we should be getting from our deep core.***

Don’t get me wrong our bodies will and still do perform what we ask of it when we aren’t engaging our deep core- its just how long will you be able to keep going before your body says; “NO”!  a.k.a Pain.

Now you are probably saying; “well how do I engage and strengthen my deep core”? This is where going back to basics comes in…breathing, rolling and crawling!

Yes, we are going back to when we were babies and breathed correctly, rolled correctly & crawled correctly.

First, Breathing.  We all breathe around 22,000 times a day!  Watch a baby or a dog breathe- they breathe correctly.  They are breathing deep into their bellies with an up and outward motion- think breathing 360 degrees.  Put one hand on your chest and one on your stomach- your hand on your stomach should rise first with every breath.

As we get older we lose this ability to breathe properly due to everyday stress and demands we put on our bodies -sitting at a desk 8 hrs a day, driving in a car, sitting on the couch watching TV and working out.  The result from improper breathing will result in bad posture and bad posture affects your airway thus making our breathing inefficient.

Most of us are shallow breathing into our chests- letting our diaphragm, chest muscles and neck muscles work every time we take a breath.  We need to learn to breathe deep into our bellies 360 degrees and learn to have a longer exhale. Breathing efficiently allows our deep core to work properly.  If we just shallow breathe we aren’t functioning optimally.  Breathing is important- correct breathing is vital…work on it everyday!

Here is a great quote from a master in the field, Perry Nickelston from Stop Chasing Pain, with regards to the core and breathing.

 “The function of the core is first, respiration and second, controlling movement.  Training the core must focus on activation of the respiration mechanism while challenging and enhancing stability.”

 Second, Rolling.  Once again watch a baby as they start to learn to move their body and roll from belly to back and back to belly.  Eyes control the movement then we use our arm to direct the direction we are rolling to- the key is that our legs aren’t doing the work.

Our eyes have a direct relationship to our core- with rolling we are teaching our body to have a distinction between upper body and lower body but all controlled by using our eyes.  Sounds easy right?  Time to get on the floor and try it out…remember no using your legs!  Here is a video of what segmental rolling should look like: Segmental Rolling

Thirdly, Crawling.  By this time I hope I haven’t lost ya but YES, crawling is our third basic movement to help build our foundation.  Crawling is crucial.  The cross body pattern is the basis of our gait patterns.  We need these patterns to help us develop fundamental stability through the core.

Nowadays the thought from some parents is crawling is bad and they want their child to be up and walking right away…WRONG!!!

Rolling and crawling are vital to our development.  These movements help develop our small intrinsic muscles necessary for movement/locomotion.

With crawling we have to get our opposite sides of our bodies working together while staying stable through our…core!  It’s surprising how easily our brain and bodies can shift to just one side dominance throughout the day.  Rolling and crawling are a great reset tool to get brain and body working together, so when you go to workout out and lift you know you are ready to go!

I hope that you can see how important these 3 basic movements are to your health and performance.  Don’t be the house built in the sand!

Remember: breathing, rolling and crawling are things we did naturally when we were babies without anyone telling us…learn from our younger selves!

“Don’t be afraid to regress to progress”

Move Better ~ Feel Better ~ Perform Better

Molly McDonald:

Molly is a trainer at Integrated Exercise Therapy.  She has a B.S. in Kinesiology with a concentration in Health Fitness from the University of Rhode Island.  Along with her degree she is a certified Personal Trainer (NASM), Neurokinetic Therapy (level 1 & 2), Functional Movement Screen, Restoring Movement Through Breathing (level 1), and Power Plate (levels 1 & 2) trainer.

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