The fitness world has been blitzed by the discovery of the “core.” However, it is not a new concept. It’s popularity likely relates to extensive research of late, leading to its profound acceptance.
To most though, the mystery remains; What truly is the “core?” Many think it is simply the abdominals, but it involves more than just the abs.
Besides having “ripped abs” or a “killer six-pack,” why in the world do trainers, fitness instructors, and physical therapists key in on this group of muscles?
First off, the “core” is comprised of multiple muscle groups working together. Included are the deepest layer of abdominals (six-pack need not apply) called the transverse abdominal muscles. These specialized abdominal muscles wrap around the waist, like a belt or corset. They work together with the small stabilizing muscles of the low back called the multifidus muscles. Also included in the core are the pelvic floor muscles.
What is the purpose of these muscles? Together they form a cylindrical support system for the low back, which creates stability for your center. When your “core” or center is strong and well trained there is a reduced risk for low back pain. And power, strength, speed, coordination, and balance are all improved.
For many people, especially those who have had back pain at some point in their lives, the hardest part is learning how to activate these muscles properly. It is imperative that “core” exercises are performed correctly to reduce risk of injury and ensure optimal results.
Physical therapists excel in helping people “find their core.” There are many different exercises, pieces of equipment, and progressions of exercises that are available to train this central powerhouse. Along with our rehabilitative approaches using Pilates Method, we’ve begun to see a big impact on peoples’ core using our newest exercise technology, CoreAlign. It helps people feel their core nearly immediately and then provides a stepwise challenge that makes core exercises fun, challenging, and beneficial.
Upon laying the foundation of the core, people can go in any number of directions athletically. Follow the science of core stability training. Do the work and enjoy the results!
For more information on this topic and CoreAlign, visit our clinic website by clicking here.