“Keep your core tight” – “brace your core muscles” … are words many of us have heard in gyms/fitness classes. But what exactly is “The Core”?
The Core is composed of:
- Inner Core Muscles
- Transverse Abdominis
- Pelvic floor (Pelvic Diaphragm)
- Lumbar Multifidus
- Outer Core Muscles
- Rectus Abdominis
- Erector Spinae
- External Obliques
The function of the inner core muscles is both physiological and physical.
- The Diaphragm is the main muscle responsible for effective breathing.
- The Transverse Abdominis helps to compress the ribs and viscera providing thoracic and pelvic stabilization
- The Pelvic floor (Pelvic Diaphragm) muscles support the organs (bladder, intestines) and provides muscle contraction required for maintenance of continence.
- The Multifidus muscles provide stiffness, stability and support to the spinal column.
The coordinated efforts of these “inner core muscles” muscles are critical for overall stabilization of the spine/lower back area. Many research have showed that these muscles must activate/engage prior to movements of the outer extremities limbs. Your inner core muscles are your “reactive core”, they should engage, subconsciously, in order to support movement.
Your outer core muscles are larger muscles, well oriented to produce force during external movements. They supports postural stability, generate movements and provide stability when your body is under load (lifting weights).
As you can see, “Core Training” is much more complex than doing 50 crunches with your feet under a bench. Effective core muscle activation requires you to become aware of what the contraction of these muscles feel like.
In the next couple of post I will show you the different exercises I use for myself and my clients in order to properly activate the different layers of the “Core Muscles”.
Train Smarter – Not Harder!