What are core muscles?
“A core strength training program enhances athletic performance”
Axel, Crussemeyer, Dean & Young (2018)
What is the core?
In simple terms its the muscles that cover the full circumference of your trunk like a big belt from your spine, all the way round your front then attaching back to the other side of the spine. They are responsible for;
- Functional strength
Muscles working together to perform everyday tasks and movements.
- Postural control
Holding the body upright against gravity such as standing and even sitting.
- Balance and Stability
Helping us to perform movements that involve unstable or uneven surfaces. Movements such as walking require a large amount of core strength.
How they differ from just the “six pack”.
Abdominals, or rectus abdominis and obliques, are the large muscles that appear down the front and side of the torso. These are called primary movers. They are involved in flexing forward as well as rotation and side flexion. They help to generate movement as well as providing some trunk large stabilisation when you are using your arms out at length. These can often regarded as the outer Core.
The Core muscles or inner core, consist of a group of deeper muscles. These are are the pelvic floor muscles, transversus abdominis, multifidus, erector spinae (sacrospinalis) especially the longissimus thoracis, the diaphragm and quadratus Lumborum. It is this collection of muscles that are in control of stabilising the trunk and body.
Why we need a strong core.
Core is the foundation that we build the body from.
A healthy back and good posture.
In a world where it is not uncommon for people to be sat at a desk for 8 hours of the day. Complaints of lower back pain are on the rise.
Akhlaq et al (2018) found that “core muscle stabilization with lumbar stretching were more effective than core muscle stabilization exercises alone for the management of non-specific low back pain”
Improved athletic performance
All large powerful movements start from the core whether you realise it or not. A golfer will engage their core before starting a swing, as will a tennis player before winding up for a serve.
As well as improving performance it helps prevent injury ,that is why we see professional rugby players participating in ballet and yoga sessions. Axel, Crussemeyer, Dean & Young (2018) found that a “core strength training program enhances athletic performance” and “will likely increase competition success”
Strong core muscles provide a strong foundation for performance
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Akhlaq Ahmed A. et al, 2017. Effectiveness of Core Muscle Stabilization Exercises with and without Lumbar Stretching in Non-Specific Low Back Pain. Annals of King Edward medical University Vol 23 No 3 (2017): AKEMU
Axel AT, Crussemeyer J, Dean K, Young DE. 2018. Field Test Performance of Junior Competitive Surf Athletes following a Core Strength Training Program. International Journal of Exercise and Science. IJES, Vol. 11, Iss. 6 (2018)
Johnson CD et al. 2018. The Relationship of Core Strength and Activation and Performance on Three Functional Movement Screens. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: April 2018 – Volume 32 – Issue 4 – p 1166–1173
Long day’s journey into night By Frank Wainwright Ultrarunning is my freedom. The time it takes between start line to finish arch is my
Written By Frank Wainwright September 2020: I was in good shape as a limited number of events came out of hiding. I was in