Ashley Graham's "Ugly Butt" Workout Form Tip for Core Activation

You'll never think of activating your core the same way after you read this.

Model Ashley Graham proves her mettle in the workout arena. A brief tour of her trainer Kira Stokes' Instagram reveals a fierce regimen that includes pushing sleds, throwing medicine balls, and executing dead bugs with sandbags. One notable consistency across all these exercises: Graham's determination to maintain an "ugly" butt during her routines. This unique idea, dubbed the 'Ugly Butt', originated from a fitness session between Stokes and Graham. Their fitness journey together commenced in February, starting with basic routines like planks, push-ups, and squats. According to Stokes, who also trains personalities such as Candace Cameron Bure and Shay Mitchell, this approach helps assess a client's mind-body connectivity and their understanding of proper form. “Upon seeing Ashley perform a plank, it was clear that despite her extensive workout history, she had never been properly taught to fully engage her core," shares Stokes.

Ashley Graham has always had a penchant for sports. Participating in various sports like basketball, volleyball, soccer, aerial yoga, rollerblading, and boxing, she's displayed exceptional agility and coordination. However, core activation was something she hadn't mastered until she met Stokes.

Stokes points out that many people, including those who regularly work out, struggle with core activation. The key is to understand that the core isn't just your abs, but includes all the muscles in the front and back of your body, from your glutes up to the insertion point of your lat muscles. In simple terms, it's everything except for your head and limbs. This is where the concept of 'Ugly Butt' comes into play.

When Graham attempted her plank, she instinctively popped her booty, a natural reaction for someone who models for eight hours a day. Stokes explained this as the 'Hot Butt' position. However, if you keep your pelvis in this anteriorly tilted position instead of slightly tucking in your pelvis and engaging your glutes (the 'Ugly Butt' position), it could lead to future pain.

In their first session together, Stokes instructed Graham on how to slightly tilt her pelvis inward and squeeze her glutes to activate her core. It was an "Aha!" moment for Graham as she exclaimed, "Oh my God! I think for the first time I felt my core."

Why is core activation deemed so critical by Stokes? She is adamant about its importance, as evident from her Stoked AthletiCORE class and a series of core-targeted workouts on her app. According to her, the core is essentially the body's powerhouse. Efficient performance and safe execution of many movements largely hinge on a robust core connection or activation. However, she mentions that the engagement of the core isn't restricted to the abdominal area alone. Activities such as bridging, bird dog crunches, and endurance glute exercises where you pulse on all fours are all incredible for core strengthening. On top of these, if you needed further motivation, Ugly Butt can immensely contribute to bodily symmetry and injury prevention - two major benefits you certainly wouldn't want to forego.

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