🏃🏻‍♂️ARTICLE: Becoming a More Natural Athlete from the Mid-abs Out…

Becoming a More Natural Athlete from the Mid-abs Out…

One of the VASIE goals is to aid people in growing into more natural athletes. We want to help people become more skilled at what they do, but also notice more results from every workout. I learned this from watching some friends who were amazing in the gym. When they worked out, they put on muscle in all the right places and had excellent posture. They looked great, had little pain, and somehow, worked out far less than I did. I decided to simply outwork them. My reward? Injury upon injury and only more imbalances.

It took several injuries and a lot of time but VASIE Pilates teaches a lot of what I spent years learning. Trying to figure out the magic that these workout “super-responders” were demonstrating.

Changing Your Workout Response Type:

The Mid-ab class teaches a set of skills that helps you to bring support from the feet up through to the respiratory diaphragm and neck. These skills are internal strength abilities that create the matrix that supports your other physical goals such as running, cross-fit, or staying out of pain.

When your internal strength (deep core) muscles start to lose their timing and tone, your body starts to compensate by shortening with your “extrinsic” or external muscles. This is particularly easy to see in the lower mid and upper abdominals.

In a world that glorifies stubborn workouts, it is difficult for all of us (myself included) to remember that inner balance must come first. If your goal is to maintain a body that is fun and comfortable to inhabit and avoid injury over a lifetime; you will want to develop these skills. it's a bit like investing - a well-balanced portfolio over the long run will almost always beat an imbalanced and risky one. There are a few people out there who will defy the odds, but most of us will need to maintain these reflexes to stay healthy and stable.

Internal Strength First:

We’ve been talking a lot about internal strength needing to be increased as much as external strength. With your abs, this is particularly important and also easy to observe. When external fitness goals overwhelm internal fitness, you will see visible evidence in the core. What you will see is a short and square waist. While the external performance may be good for a while, the body is imbalanced and you will see problems begin to emerge in respiration, recovery, grounding, injury, and aesthetics.

The skills necessary to maintain the internal or core strength and increase tone are:

  • Breathing - can you easily engage breath from your feet through your core?

  • Pelvic Floor and low ab engagement -

  • Transversus engagement -

  • Extended Exhales -

  • Increasing Tone

Key Signs of Loss of the Mid-ab reflex is:

  • Abs that stick out regardless of how lean a person is
  • A shortened waist
  • An upper body that is either set back or is collapsed over the pelvis
  • Poor respiration
  • Head forward posture


Extreme conditioning of external abs without maintaining internal balance of TA -

Possible negative effects: Inhibited respiration, pressure on the pelvic floor, head forward posture, tendency toward joint injuries in the long run?

Immediate Benefits: Feel very strong, some injury prevention during high stress activities, able to exert a lot of power and strength

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Bias toward internal strength over outer strength and conditioning

Possible Side effects: While very thin it is possible that this person is not doing enough cardio or strength training!

Benefits: core reflexes are intact so posture should be easy. Better alignment of joints throughout the body. Probably less likely to injure joints or have good joint over time

JEALOUS? My Friend the Abercrombie Model: The body I always wanted... until he stood up

Many years ago, I had an Abercrombie model in one of my Rolfing School classes. He had the gorgeous six-pack abs that were de rigor for models at the time. He looked amazing. That was until he stood up! All of the work that he had done on his abs had shortened his six-pack muscles and obliques until he was bent over like your average 80-year-old... He had shortened his torso, and his super strong abs had pulled him into a good number of curvatures in his spine…

Authors Note: He is still 500% more attractive than I am. But my posture is better. #sourgrapes #stilljealous