Core…. Everyone says it, but do you fully understand what it is suppose to do?
Core, what is it and why is there so much buzz about it? Let’s take a look at the “core”. Without going into an anatomy lesson on the musculature of the core, suffice it to say that the muscles that surround the vitals from the pelvic floor to the ribs and wrap around the body from the spine to the front make up the “core”. These include and are not limited to: Tranverse Abdominus, Internal and External Obliques, muscles of the pelvic floor, multifidi, Spinal Erectorae, Rectus Abdominus, and Diaphragm.
What is the job of the core? Really, it is all about power transfer. The core is the link between the lower and the upper body. The bulk of our activities, whether they are normal daily or sport, require us to transfer power from the lower body to the upper body, or provide a base of support to reach an extremity out. What we would like to have ideally is that the musculature of the “core” provide the most efficient contraction to hold the torso (meaning spine and ribs in their most secure position) in the most optimal position to safely and effectively transfer power between the two extremities. Since the safest position for the spine and the discs between the vertebrae is the S curve, the primary function of the core musculature is to maintain this curve regardless of the activity performed. So, really the core should not be thought of the muscles in the front or side but all the way around. Strengthening the low back should be as important if not more important when considering strengthening the core.
That is the main reason we work in class on maintaining a straight spine while performing all of the basic movements (squats, Deadlifts, split squats, pushups, pull-ups, etc.) By addressing the correct spinal position during these movements we are training the musculature of the “core” allowing for the optimal transfer of power from the ground to whatever resistance there may be.
So, don’t get pigeoned holed into think core training is all planks and ball work – get your feet on the ground and teach your body how to take the strength of the legs and transfer it to your arms via the “core”.