Having a strong core is the very essence of a strong foundation in your body. It is the core that determines overall stability in your body and provides an active support of the lumbar spine. Your everyday actions, even if they don’t involve participating in sports or fitness, requires the use of your core muscles.
Whether you are bending down to pick up a heavy object or just vacuuming your house, these motions all require a strong core.
The core isn’t one muscle on its own, but rather a combination of different muscles, namely the deep trunk muscles, transversus abdominis, lumbar multifidus, internal oblique, para-spinal and the pelvic floor. It is the contraction of these muscles that allows you to produce forces through the thoracolumbar fascia as well as the intra-abdominal pressure to stabilize the spine. More importantly, if you’re physically active, having a strong core means being less prone to injuries and having a healthier lower back.
The reason why we have to incorporate training for our core is to effectively learn to control the position of our lumbar spine during dynamic movements such as squatting or jumping. The importance lies in strengthening your core to a base level while having high endurance to exert low-level forces against external movements. At all times, the stabilizer muscles in the core must work to hold the lumbar spine in the neutral position which allows for the natural “S” curve of the spine.
Knowing that a strong core reduces injury and improves our performance alone is not enough to truly bring about changes to your posture and body. You have to add core stability exercises into your workout routine to experience the effects of strengthening taking place. By getting the deepest layers of muscles within the trunk to contract and stabilize the spine, you’ll prevent other muscles from taking over which may cause the pain you feel or unnecessary stiffness.
Practice activating your Transverse Abdominis regularly by performing stomach vacuums in static supine positions or in other positions such as sitting and standing. You’ll find that over time, issues that arise from a weak core such as chronic back pain will be kept at bay.
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