Core values

By Cary Castagna, Edmonton Sun

Jill Miller, a fit 114 pounds at 5-foot-3, likes to incorporate no-impact plyometrics and whole-body movements in her own regimen. (Supplied)

Jill Miller, a fit 114 pounds at 5-foot-3, likes to incorporate no-impact plyometrics and whole-body movements in her own regimen. (Supplied)

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Fab abs are more than just skin deep.

If you truly want to get "Coregeous," then you must delve into the deepest linings of your core musculature, says fitness expert Jill Miller.

"There's more to your core," Miller, 40, tells Sun Media with a chuckle in a phone interview from Los Angeles. "People really stay on the surface of their abs. But if you dig down, if you go underneath, if you root around and learn how to get in there, you will redefine your abs from the inside out."

The yoga master and creator of the popular Yoga Tune Up fitness brand -- a combination of yoga, corrective-exercise, self-massage and stress-reduction techniques -- uses the analogy of a cheap suit. The lining of a polyester knockoff, she says, never moves quite right, rendering the suit rather restrictive. And that's similar to what can happen to the "lining of your birthday suit."

"If you're not really addressing the lining of your own birthday suit, then the superficial tissues on top -- the ones that get all the press, like the rectus abdominis muscles and the obliques and the lats -- they don't go to full function because they're just being built on top of tension," she explains.

"I help people to unravel unknown kinks in their birthday suit so that the seams of their body are laid out better."

Miller, a fit 114 pounds at five-foot-three, goes deep in her latest DVD, Coregeous.

The program contains four principle sequences.

The first is called CORE Re-Form, which is essentially deep-tissue self-massage of a variety of muscle groups using pliable rubber balls.

"(For example), we rub out the rhomboids (in the upper back) and deep intercostal muscles (lining the ribs). If those muscles don't allow your ribs to go through full range of motion, it actually inhibits your spinal movements," says Miller, who seems to know the scientific name of each of the more than 600 muscles of the body.

"What are core muscles if they're not muscles that help the spine to move?

"We want to make sure we're not walking around with knots or adhesions or 'kinks' in some of these important structural muscles."

The second sequence, titled Get COREganized, involves exercises to help establish proper spinal alignment and breathing patterns.

InCOREporate is the third sequence, which entails exercises to strengthen the lower back and "revitalize the muscles of the ribcage."

The final sequence, Get COREgeous, takes place on a physio ball and involves a series of exercises that challenge balance and stability along various gravitational planes.

Miller, who also likes to incorporate no-impact plyometrics and whole-body movements in her own regimen, admits her workouts are unique.

"I'm definitely that person at the gym that causes people to stop in their tracks and start staring and then come up to me afterwards and say, 'Where did you learn that? How do I do that?'"

But for Miller, who battled eating disorders as a teenager, it's all about superior health.

"A lot of people, women especially, have an extremely negative relationship to their abdomen, to body-fat -- belly fat in particular. I know how shameful this area of the body can be and the ways people try to destroy it, annihilate it and attack it," she says, noting she doesn't use words like shred or rip in the video.

"If you're really truthful about getting the lining of your birthday suit organized, getting your nervous system re-patterned through deep breathing, through engaging breathing muscles within the context of exercise, it will completely transform your approach to exercise and your body will feel better, you'll have more energy and your body will streamline into the native physique that is most efficient for you," she says.

"And for most people, that's not carrying around a lot of excess weight."

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