What is core training?

Let’s first start off with what Core training is not. Most people associate Core with just doing abdominal exercises only. The Core is much more than the abdominals. The Core begins at the neck continuing all the way down to your pelvis primarily down the center of the body. It is mainly all the muscles attached to your spine and trunk. This includes Shoulder, Upper Back, Mid Back, Lower Back, Abdominals, Obliques, Hips and in my opinion the most important of all are the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles are easily overlooked due to traditional abdominal exercises. In order to truly activate your pelvic floor muscles you must understand the concept of the "drawing in maneuver" with your navel. Once you become accustomed to this concept you will definitely be Isolating your Core more during most exercises. You will notice the benefits right away as well which include better posture, strength and stability during daily activities and exercise.

Some examples of the Core Specific include: Plank, Side Plank, Bridge, SuperMan, Prone Cobra and Twisting Windmill just to name a few.

Eric Beard
Sports Medicine

Core training involves targeting the muscles in the center of your body. Most commonly thought of as the abs and low back, the core also includes the hips and the shoulders. Most of us sit the majority of the day and the core tends to get weak. We need to develop these muscles to protect our joints, especially our low back. Core training can be thought of as any exercise that targets these muscles. Research is showing that doing some core stabilization training every day can help treat and prevent back pain. I have found this to be true with my clients especially if they stretch everyday as well. Even if you develop a 10-15 minute daily stretching and core routine, the dividends will pay off!

Core training has become in vogue over the past decade. Many people believe the core consists of the abdominal and lower back musculature. The core in fact, consists of lines of muscle that stretch from your nose to your toes. In human movement when your legs, arms, head, and eyes are moving you are engaging your core. Movements to train and condition your core should be task and goal specific. If you are a volleyball player the best way to condition your core will be in the upright functional position, versus lying down on the ground. Once the individual has established the proper starting position the movement should involve moving your arms and legs to authentically "turn on" the bodies core. Isolated movements to work the abdominal muscles does not turn the true power of your core on, the move will simply work the abdominals.

The core is not only the abs and back, but all the muscles that attach to the torso.  It could be called the "pillar" which provides stability for all movement. When you perform an exercise that involves moving the lower and upper body simultaneously, the core is required to stabilize to transfer the force between the extremities. This type of training represents a multi-muscle approach, and because you are using more muscle groups, you are burning more calories, and getting more done is less amount of time.

Because the core consists of the hips, pelvis, abdominals, lower back, mid-back, and neck regions of the body, core training can encompass any exercises that challenge and work the muscles surrounding the hips, pelvis, torso, and spine. An example of a core training exercise is the ball bridge. This exercise not only improves strength and stability of the torso and midsection, but also strengthens and tones the butt and hip muscles.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.