Get To Know Your Core
The core is talked about a lot, yet its highly misunderstood. When most people think of their core, they think of their rectus abdominus … their abs. And while your abs do play a minor role in forming your core, they’re most certainly not the main or most important core muscle for you to be training.
See, your abs (rectus abdomens) are primarily used to flex the spine, most often during stand-ing movements. And while doing sit ups, and crunches, may give your abs a nice pump and burn – they’re actually doing more harm than good, and they won’t get your abs to show.
In order to have a visible set of abs, you need to have a low body fat percentage – this comes from diet. It’s all about what you’re putting in your mouth, or what you’re not putting in your mouth . You can’t outrun a terrible diet, and if you want abs your diet must be on point. While some people are genetically gifted, and don’t have to do much in order for their abs to show, most people have to put in a lot of effort and consistency into their dietary choices.
Crunches and sit ups are usually the “go-to” core exercises for most people, in various forms/ variations. But, repeated flexion of the spine, while under load (either bodyweight or added weight) eventually causes damage to spine, leading to injuries such as disc bulges and herni-ations. They also do little to help you support and stabilize your spine during movement, the main function of the core – something you need if you want to move well, be strong, and be ath-letic … or just live well with less or no pain.
Now that you know the focus shouldn’t be on your abs, or crunches, when it comes to training your core, what should you do and what muscles make up your core?
Your core is made up of a few primary muscles …
1.) Transversus abdominus: A large muscle that wraps around the inside of the body from the spine to the front of the abs – like an internal corset.
2.) Internal / external obliques: Thick and dense muscles that reside on the sides of the torso.
3.) Multifidus: Small muscles located deep along the sides of the spine, they run down the spine and resemble a “christmas tree”.
4.) The Diaphragm: The muscles responsible for your ability to breath, it forms a dome through the body and rests under the ribs
… along with the spinal erectors and the rectus abdominus.
These muscles, when functioning correctly, support and stabilize the spine and prevent move-ment in the spine during any kind of exercise, athletics, or movement thought the day. We need a strong and functional core in order to create safe and effective movement. If you want to run fast, throw something, or pick something up – the core needs to stiffen up and support the spine in order to generate optimal force and protect the spine during those movements …. or any other kind of movements.
A strong/stable core will also lend itself to making your shoulders and hips much more mobile and free. Why, because they’re attached to your core and, with a strong and stable base to op-erate from, your nervous system will allow them to move with greater freedom.
All of this is great but the problem is this, not only do most people not know what their core ac-tually is, they have no idea how to connect to it and engage it correctly. Also, they have no idea how to train it safely and in a way that will develop the core in a well rounded way.
That’s why over the next couple of weeks we’ll be teaching you all about your core, what it is, how to connect to it properly, and how to begin training it in a way that will make you move, look, and feel your best.