“A house in only as strong as its foundation.”

Or something like that. It’s gotta be at least partially true, right?

All that to say, it’s the same in lifting weights, especially when you press a weight overhead. 

The core muscles – aka all the muscles between your shoulders and hips – are the foundation and any weak link there will bear the load and set you up for injury.

The core must activate first, then movement in the extremities (in this case, a press overhead) follows.

Here’s a good mantra to remember:

Core Compresses, Then Arm Presses

By squeezing or compressing your core as if you’re bracing for a punch, you’re providing a stable brace around your spine. Think of this stable brace as a cylinder that wraps around your trunk…and as we’ll often cue: “compress the cylinder.”

Bonus spine safety points and strength gains if you squeeze the glutes as you’re pressing, too!

Core Compresses, Then Arm Presses

Use this mantra whether lifting a 20kg kettlbell, a 50 lb child or a 10 lb laundry basket overhead.

Your spine (and forthcoming six pack and sculpted shoulders) will thank you for it! 

Be safe! Train smart!

Jess & Team Valeo

PS – here’s a video of one of our (even more) awesome members, Abigail, beautifully “compressing the cylinder” by squeezing her core as if bracing for a punch and then pressing the kettlebell overhead. Well done, Abby!

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