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The importance of having a strong core

Why is the core so important?

These days, everybody is talking about “strengthening their core”. When people say this they are often referring to the uphill battle of toning and defining our abdominals. Did you know that the “core” is actually made up of approximately 35 separate muscles, your abdominals only being a few…

So, what is it then?

The best way to describe the core is to imagine it as a cylinder. The top of the cylinder is composed of the diaphragm, (aka the breathing muscle) and the bottom is composed of the pelvic floor. Everything in between these muscles is our core, or often referred to as the trunk. The core has numerous functions that allow us to move, twist, turn and jump, but to name a few. The primary function of our core is stabilisation. This local stabilisation works to protect the spine. The protection of our spine is also facilitated by the global stabilisation system - the way in which loads transfer between extremities during functional movements. The system of muscles that lie more locally to the core are deeper than your abs and obliques.

Why is the core so important?

A strong and healthy core allows you to move your arms and legs freely without causing friction, shearing or excessive strain on your spine. Anticipatory action is the way in which the core can work to protect the spine prior to body movement occurring. If we lose strength in the muscles of the core, anticipatory action is lost, leaving our spine to become more vulnerable to jarring and twisting movements.

Lets recap:

The body is made up of a local and a global stabilisation system.

These systems have the respective roles.

The global muscles generate movement, the local stabilisers protect the joint that drives these movements.

A good example of this is; when you pick something up off the ground, the muscles of your hip and knee contract to generate force. While this is happening, our “core” engages to protect the joints of the spine and prevent shearing/friction/torque to transfer to those areas.

The importance of having a strong core.

The importance of having a strong core.

Our main line of defence against putting undue strain on our joints while moving through regular tasks is the core. That barrier of defence disappears when the core is compromised or not operating properly. If this happens, the joint/capsule/muscles/ligament or nerves of the spine are put at risk from movements and tasks as simple as putting on your shoe. The core is the main support for the spine. If not maintained, it leaves us susceptible to injury.

But it's not all injury risk and potential harm! The good news is that the core is easily trained. We can strengthen and ensure coordinated movement with the right exercises.

How do I do this?

The benefits from core training are endless. Whether suffering low back pain, or being proactive the preventative effects of core training are endless.

All core training plans should be individualised, and improve motor control and stabilisation.

Other factors showing a good core training program include: systematic, progressive, functional, and emphasise training of the deep local stabilising system, then integrating the coordination and use of global muscle systems for optimal functional movements. As all training, we aim for progression and variation.

The use of stabilising or balance devices has proven to increase recruitment and benefits of core training exercises. As the exercises progress to fundamental movement skills, they should be progressed to include sport or activity specific movements.

If you want to learn more about core strength and want professional advice & a personalised core training program?

Contact us here at Physio K to book your appointment and get stable and strong today!


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