IF THE SUCKING IN IS A POTENTIAL PROBLEM THEN A REFLEXIVE MUSCLE RESPONSE IS THE ANSWER
What we're working towards is a body wide reflexive muscle response. Ideally we shouldn't need to turn things on and off - when we're lined up in the best possible way - our muscles fire naturally. But unfortunately many common lifestyle traits in our part of the world, along with cultural beliefs around what looks good - have led to us carrying a lot of tension in the centre of the body that restricts its function.
Take sucking your belly in (just for an example, relax your belly, no really, relax it). Weakness comes from that tension. To work well, muscle needs to be able to both contract and relax. When it's constantly under tension it gets to a point where it is no longer able to do its job (which is generate force).
SO HOW DO I GET MY CORE MUSCLES TO DO THEIR JOB?
The space between the rib cage and the pelvis has very little in the way of bones for the muscles to attach to. This makes sense, because if our ribs went down to our pelvis we would lose much of our mobility. Think of twisting and reaching and a myriad other movements that would be impossible were this true.
But we do have a bone like structure for the abdominal muscles to attach to in the centre of the body - the Linea Alba (and to right and left sides, the Linea Semilunaris). The muscles attach to these connective tissue strings, connecting the pelvis to the rib cage. These tissues area actually very strong - but only when they have just the right amount of tension - and that comes down to having neutral pelvis and ribs.
If you rib thrust or tuck your tailbone under - that optimal tension is lost and can no longer help your trunk muscles to generate force.
Your number one limitation to core strength is your alignment
Our latest entry in the alignment sock competition comes from Trish and Britt. Click the image above to see the next photo. Trish is wearing minimalist shoes, so her feet can absorb the many benefits of walking across a variety of terrains. And apparently "Britt also prefers to walk off the path - I guess she also enjoys the different textures under her feet." Good one Britt! They are on the Rail Trail which is a great idea, there are heaps of textures to explore there.
Trish also noted that "I've been doing head ramp while driving and noticed that it changes my body posture (less tail tucking), and that my head pops up and body tenses if anything of concern is happening on the road." Once you become more self-aware you really can regain that sense of control of how your body feels. We tend to spend so much time in our cars. You can use that time to do some restorative exercise!