“When Ashley did a plank, it was apparent to me that she’s never really been taught how to truly engage her core, despite the fact she’s been working out for a really long time,” Ashley’s trainer Kira Stokes who coined the term, told Shape of their first-ever sweat session together. The tip-off? She kept sticking her booty out, meaning there was no abdominal activation whatsoever.
“If you ask someone who is used to modelling for eight hours a day to tuck and draw your butt in they're like, 'Huh? In every picture I’m supposed to stick it out, and now I’m supposed to do the opposite?’ But by allowing your pelvis to anteriorly tilt (booty pop position) instead of tucking your pelvis ('Ugly Butt' position), you're setting yourself up to have real pain in the future," Stokes explained.
In fact, the first time she got Ash to tuck her pelvis under and squeeze her cheeks simultaneously (which btw, is key), she looked at her in disbelief and was like, “Oh my god! I think for the first time I felt my core.”
But hold up, why is core activation so important again?!
“It’s the powerhouse of your body,” Stokes explains. “All movement – safe movement – stems from your core.” NB: the term ‘core’ doesn’t just refer to abs. ("Your core muscles are everything from the glutes (butt), to the insertion of your lat muscles, to the front and back body. Essentially it’s everything except your head and limbs.”) And don’t stress if you’re not a huge fan of planks (same), there are heaps of alternate exercises out there that will work your core just as well.
“Bridging, bird dog crunches, endurance glute work where you’re on all fours and pulsing, are all great for core work,” Stokes adds. Just don’t forget to activate the good ole ‘Ugly Butt.’
Need some workout inspo? Watch Ashley Graham's lower body burner...