What are your core muscles?
Your core is made up of more muscles than just the abdominals. Today we are defining core as muscles that maintain stability in the abdomen and lower back. These are the transversus abdominis (deep corset-like abdominal muscle), multifidus (stabilizing back muscles attached to spine), diaphragm (at the base of lungs, helps regulate breathing) and pelvic floor muscles (located in pelvic region, supports waste continence, sexual function and connecting joints).
Why is core strength important?
Our core helps keep us strong and stable in all our movements. A strong core can mean better posture, sports performance and reduced likelihood of injury.
- allows force to be transferred properly for effective use of the limbs
- protects the spine during movements
- aligns skeletal bones for good posture, resistance to gravity.
What about my abs?
While the abdominals can assist in stability their primary function is movement of the torso about the spine. We don’t want to bypass the core by using the abdominals as primary stabilizers as this weakness can leave you vulnerable to injury. A strong core should come before strong abs.
How should I train my core?
You can train your core throughout your workout. The most important thing is effective core activation (e.g. belly in and gently braced, maintaining natural curves in the spine with correct pelvis and torso alignment) and the exercise sequence.
Example of a good training sequence for effective core use throughout your workout:
- Begin with core activation exercises such as pelvic tilts.
- Move onto full body power and speed, e.g. sprints and box jumps.
- Follow this with stength moves including squats, deadlifts or farmers walk.
- Finish up with targeted core exercises such as scissor, swimming, plank and woodchopper.
Feel free to ask myself or one of the other gym instructors for advice when you're next in the gym.
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