Your core is more than just a 6 pack!

Hi guys,

To build a strong core, you need more than just do ab crunches and sit ups.

You need to exercise a variety of muscles from your hips all the way to your shoulders. A lot of people tend to think of the core as six-pack or nice toned abs.

Actually the abdominal muscles are a very small part of the core and they have a limited and specific action

The “core” actually consists of many different muscles that stabilize the spine and the pelvis, and that run the entire length of the torso.

When these muscles contract, they stabilize the spine, pelvis and shoulder girdle and provide a strong base of support. .

The core muscles also help us stand upright and move on two feet.

These muscles help control movements and transfer energy, shift our body weight and move in any direction.

A strong core distributes the stresses of weight-bearing and protects the back.

What are the core muscles?

In general the muscles of the core run the length of the trunk and torso.

The following list includes some of the most commonly identified core muscles and the lesser known groups.

  • Rectus Abdominus:  Located along the front of the abdomen, this is the most well-known ab muscle and is often referred to as the “six-pack” due to it’s appearance in fit and thin individuals.
  • Erector spinae: Three muscles that run along your neck to your lower back.
  • Multifidus : Located under the erector spinae along the vertebral column, extends and rotates the spine.
  • External obliques:  Located on the side and front of the abdomen.
  • Internal obliques: Located under the external obliques, running the opposite direction.
  • Transverse abdominis : Located under the obliques, it is the deepest of the abdominal muscles and wraps around your spine for protection and stability.
  • Hip flexors: Located in front of the pelvis and upper thigh. These muscles are :psoas major, illiacus, rectus femoris, pectineus and sartorius (you’re welcome you needed to know that)
  • Gluteus medius and minimus – located at the side of the hip
  • Gluteus maximus. hamstring group and piriformis:  Located in the back of the hip and upper thigh leg.
  • Hip adductors: located at medial thigh.

The benefits of good core strength

  •  Reduces Back Pain
    The abdominals get all the credit for protecting the back but they are only a small part of  the core. In fact, it’s weak core muscles that are linked to the most common low back pain. Weak core muscles result in loss of appropriate lumbar curve and bad posture. Stronger, balanced core muscles help maintain appropriate posture and reduce strain on the spine.
  • Improves Athletic Performance
    Because the muscles of the trunk and the torso stabilize the spine from the pelvis to the neck and shoulder, they allow the transfer of power and energy to the arms and legs. All the powerful movements originate from the center of the body out, and never from the limbs alone. Before any powerful, rapid muscle contractions can occur in the extremities, the spine must be solid and stable and the more stable the core, the most powerful the extremities can contract.
  •  Improves Postural Imbalances
    Training the muscles of the core helps correct postural imbalances that can lead to injuries. The biggest benefit of core training is to develop functional fitness; the type of fitness that is essential to daily living and regular activities.

Exercises that will build Core Strength

Core strengthening exercises are the most effective when the torso works as a solid unit and both front and back muscles contract at the same time.

Abdominal bracing is a basic technique used during core exercise training. To correctly brace, you should attempt to pull your navel back in toward your spine. This action primarily recruits the transverse abdominus. You should be able to breathe evenly while bracing and not hold your breath.

What Are the Best Core Exercises?

Core exercises are most effective when they engage many muscles throughout the torso that cross several joints and work together to coordinate stability. Core muscles need to work as a unit, contract at the same time, across joints in order to stabilize the spine. Some of the best core exercises are simple bodyweight exercises, including the following:

  • Plank

  • Side plank

  • The basic push-up

  • V-sits

  • Squats

  • Hip lift

  • Oblique twist

  • Plank on a balance ball

  • Lunge with twist

  • Supermans

Ciao for now!

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