The "core" consists of both small and large muscles that stabilize the spine and torso region. When stabilizing the spine, shoulder and pelvis area, core muscles provide a sturdy foundation for movement in the extremities. Core conditioning should involve the usage of every core muscle, not just the abdominals. The muscles of the core make it possible to stand and walk upright. Core muscles help control movements, transfer energy and enable the body to shift its weight in all directions. A strong core is the key to improving posture, eliminating chronic back pain and reducing the risk of midsection strains.
Which Muscles Make Up The Core?
The list of muscles that make up the "core" is somewhat arbitrary and is taught differently throughout the fitness industry. In general, the muscles of the core run the length of the trunk and torso; and when contracted they stabilize the spine, pelvis and shoulder girdle. The following list includes the most commonly identified core muscles.
*Erector spinae *External obliques *Hip flexors *Internal obliques *Psoas major *Rectus abdominis *Transverse abdominis
Strong abdominal muscles can help protect the muscles of the lower back. Because the muscles of the trunk and torso stabilize the spine from the pelvis to the neck and shoulder, power generated through them can also be transferred to the arms and legs. All power movements should originate from the center of the body. Contrary to popular belief, true power is not generated from our arms or legs alone. Without a strong core, strength and power movements suffer. Before any powerful, rapid muscle contractions can occur in the limbs, the core must be stable. The more stable the core, the more power the extremities can produce.
As mentioned, training the core muscles corrects postural imbalances. Core strengthening exercises are most effective when the torso works as a solid unit; meaning both front and back muscles should contract simutaneously.
Strengthening the Core Muscles
Incorporating the following aids can help increase the benefits of core training:
·Stability balls ·Dumbbells ·Medicine balls ·Bosu ball, balance boards or wobble boards ·Kettlebells
Body weight exercises can also be effective in developing the core.
·Squats ·V sits ·Lunges ·Hip lift ·Russian twists ·Abdominal bracing ·Plank exercises ·Back extensions *Gluteus maximus, hamstring group, piriformis *Gluteus medius and minimus *Hip adductors *Illiacus *Pectineus *Rectus femoris *Sartorius