Getting Your Core to Work For You

We can only scratch the surface here in this article in terms of anatomy and function of your core. Our intent is to inform you what the function of the core is, some of the major players that carry out the cores function and ensure you understand that how the core looks, whether a 6 pack or a 2 pack has little if anything to do with how it functions. The core is not just one specific muscle and it certainly has more than one function, by way of example muscles of the core help us run, carry a suitcase, breathe, stand up and swing a golf club and even use the bathroom. While the discussion between professionals and researchers about exactly what muscles are part of the core it is for certain that it is much more than what you see in the mirror and the musculature plays role in just about everything we do.

Core Strength

The core really includes all of the structures that make up the torso; the spine, pelvis, rib cage and all of the soft tissue that attaches them. Each of the muscles and tissues have specific jobs however real core strength involves each of the core muscle working together and integrates the hips, torso and shoulders to get a job done. Core Strength is a team effort by your body. The days of targeted ab training have fortunately just about disappeared and much of the fitness industry now thinks in terms of movement and the core as part of a larger system. The core is a stabilizer and not a prime mover. A quick search on why crunches are not a safe exercise choice, or do not develop true core strength will reveal articles by revered professionals such as Stuart McGill or Mike Boyle. They do a great job explain why the science, research and practical application has moved the industry past crunches and spot training.

What Does the Core Do?

Now that we have a better understanding of where the core is, we can also start to understand what the core does. To combat the common misconceptions, we must convey that core strength is much different than just the ability to flex, extend, bend, and rotate the spine. The real goal of core strength is to maintain posture of the hips, spine, and rib cage as the foundation for quality movement of the extremities. We need a strong base to operate from. Core strength is really the ability to maintain position of the hips, spine and ribcage in order to efficiently transfer forces, run, throw a ball, hurdle a fence or carry a toddler. By training that way, we train the major function of the core, and can also achieve better strength gains, more efficient movement, and longevity of health.

Here is a graphic that shows many of your core muscles.

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