A lot of times when people think of “core” or “core exercises”…
They think of the abs and a six pack. But, the reality is our core is much, much more.
Our core pretty much involves every muscle in the torso that stabilizes the spine, pelvis and shoulder girdle and creates a solid base of support.
The core muscles also make it possible to stand upright and move on our own two feet. When contracted they not only control our movements, but also to create power, shift body weight, transfer energy and move in any direction.
Basically… Core- Creates- Action
A good Core conditioning program needs to target all these muscle groups- in order to be effective.
A strong core will not only make you a more powerful athlete, it will improve your postural imbalances- preventing injury, improve back pain, and improve your balance on many different levels.
The biggest benefit of core training is to develop functional fitness- the type of fitness that is essential to daily living and regular activities. Which is something EVERYONE can use.:)
Different People will have different specifics on a list of core muscles… Generally speaking it looks a bit like this…
Rectus Abdominis – located along the front of the abdomen, this is the most well-known abdominal muscle and is often referred to as the “six-pack” due to it’s appearance in fit and thin people.
Erector Spinae- This group of three muscles runs along your neck to your lower back.
Multifidus – located under the erector spinae along the vertebral column, these muscles extend and rotate the spine.
External Obliques - located on the side and front of the abdomen.
Internal Obliques – located under the external obliques, running in the opposite direction.
Transverse Abdominis – located under the obliques, it is the deepest of the abdominal muscles (muscles of your waist) and wraps around your spine for protection and stability.
Hip Flexors – located in front of the pelvis and upper thigh. The muscles that make up the hip flexors include: psoas major, illiacus, rectus femoris, pectineus, sartorius
Gluteus medius and minimus – located at the side of the hip
Gluteus maximus, hamstring group, piriformis – located in the back of the hip and upper thigh leg.
Hip adductors – located at middle thigh.
Core strengthening exercises are most effective when the torso works as one solid unit & both front and back muscles contract at the same time, while multi joint movements are performed and stabilization of the spine is monitored.
* Abdominal bracing or “tightening up” is a basic technique used during core exercise training. To correctly brace, you should attempt to pull your navel back in toward your spine. Hollowing out almost. This will roll your pelvis girdle forward slightly, while stabilizing and straightening your lower spine.
This action primarily recruits transverse abdominus.
Remember though, you should be able to breathe evenly while bracing- and not end up holding your breath!!
Having this form of “tightening up” will help making all your core exercises more effective, and help recruit the desired muscle during any core training.