The “Core”: It’s More Than Just Abs

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When you think of your “core”, which muscles come to mind? If you’re like the vast majority of people, you immediately think of your abs. What you probably don’t realize is that your core is so much more than abdominal muscles. It’s actually made up of 29 muscles in your mid and low back, pelvic floor, butt, and hips. Together, these muscles act as the cornerstone for all of your body’s movements.

The Core

Your core muscles can be divided into 2 groups: the inner muscles and the outer muscles.

Inner Muscles

The inner muscles are the stabilizers. They’re attached to your spine and they support movement.

Picture showing the inner core muscles. The diaphragm, multifidus, transversus abdominis, and pelvic floor muscles are each labeled.

Outer Muscles

The outer muscles support the inner core. These muscles work with the inner muscles to move the body.

Picture showing the outer core muscles with an anterior and posterior view. The outer muscles are highlighted in red.

How to Train Your Core

Your core most often acts as a stabilizer and force transfer center. Yet people consistently focus on training it as a prime mover and in isolation. Rather than doing isolated exercises, like crunches, you should be working on functional movements, like deadlifts, push ups, anti-rotation holds, and other functional closed chain exercises. When you train your core in isolation, you’re missing out on its major function! Training with functional movements allows for better strength gains, more efficient movement, and longevity of health.

Stability vs Strength

Core stability: The ability to resist an unwanted movement.

Core strength: The amount of force the core produces to perform a desired movement.

While these are two completely different functions, they’re interdependent on one another. It’s vital to not only have strength, but also stability and vice versa.

Now What?

Now that you have a better understanding of your core muscles, you can get the maximum benefits out of your workouts. If you’ve been isolating your core, STOP! There are plenty of functional closed chain exercises you can do. If you don’t like any of the ones we suggested earlier, a quick Google search will help you find what you need!

As always, if you have any questions or would like to schedule a free 15 minute consultation, just give us a call!

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