The Core is the foundation for your movements enabling mobility in the upper and lower body, directing power efficiently to your limbs, stabilizing your spine, ribcage and pelvis against the forces that are exerted upon them from various movements.
Modern lifestyles are highly sedentary, meaning certain core muscles may become inactive. If you do not exercise these muscles regularly, you will lose the ability to engage them instinctively while performing everyday movements such as lifting and bending. When this happens other muscles take over and can therefore lead to muscular imbalances, where one muscle becomes stronger than its opposing muscle which can then lead to an increased risk of injury. One example of this is poor posture which can cause an imbalance in your hip and gluteus muscles, resulting in lower-back pain.
Core training helps to improve strength, stability and mobility which reduces the likelihood of such imbalances developing, lowering the risk of injuries.
Your core acts as an axis which the muscles of the hips, abdomen and the back interact to support and stabilize the spine, providing a solid base for movement in the legs and arms. It is a key part of your body's support structure.
- If you were to strip the spine of all muscle and leave just bones and ligaments, it would collapse under 9kg of loaded weight. Strong core muscles generate the strength, stability and mobility needed to carry out everyday activities such as carrying shopping, getting in and out of the car, loading the washing machine and climbing the stairs. They also play a crucial role in more demanding dynamic sports by helping to transfer more power and stability and improving performance. This will then reduce the risk of injury through core development which is a key objective of elite athletes and their coaches.
A balanced and focussed core-training programme can have a positive impact on your physical well-being as a whole
The benefits of core training are;
Core mobility refers to the movement of your spine and hips. There are five main movement patterns involved which are isometric, flexion, extension, side flexion and rotation. It is vital to mobilize your spine and hips before exercise to loosen any tight muscles and encourage weaker, under-used muscles to function correctly. This helps to balance the muscle length and movement patterns, which allow for deeper muscle activation also by improving your core stability and strength.
Core stability refers to the ability to control the position and movement of your mid-section in order to improve your posture and improve he efficiency of each movement of the limbs. Core stability training targets the deep muscles of your abdomen, hips and spine to create a base for support. During most types of body movements, the three main deep muscles that work to stabilize the lumbar spine are the multifidus, the pelvic floor and the transverse abdominis and the level of stability your back has, will depend on all of these muscles.
Core strength refers to the ability to perform challenging physical tasks that demand good form and control. Good core strength is important but requires a good level of core stability first. Core strength training works by pushing your core muscles beyond their normal demands or by holding positions to increase endurance strength. The greater the force exerted upon the body, the greater the amount of core muscle becomes engaged. As you develop core strength through exercise, your movements will become adapted to a higher level of skill and performance.
Isometric strength is the ability to hold your body in a fixed position or resist an external force, such as when you are carrying a heavy weight or performing the plank.
Flexion involves bending forwards for example; when you are picking something up from the floor or moving to a sitting position from a lying position. This could also be when you are performing crunches during a workout.
Extension involves bending your back to stand from a bent over position, or arching your back to stretch up to reach something. This could be performed with back extensions during a workout.
Side flexion involves bending from side to side from your waist or reaching overhead to either your left or right. You could perform this movement if you were to perform an exercise such as windmills.
Rotation involves turning movements from your waist such as twisting to look over your shoulder. This could be performed with rotational twists during mat work.
Complex movements involve a combination of one or more of the other five movements listed above. A dumbbell- hand-walk is a great example of this.
If you feel you need to improve your core strength, our classes can improve your core mobility, stability and strength. If you would like to join in any class please come along and work at your level. Pushing yourself too hard in the beginning can create too much pressure on the muscles we have mentioned above leaving you with back pain and more, so listen to your body and do what you are currently capable of and be patient as your core gets stronger and allows for a better performance during each workout and you will continue to see continuous progression.