What is the core?

What is the core?

As a yoga and pilates teacher and a personal trainer, I often get asked the question by my clients, “When you refer to the core, what do you mean exactly?”

Looking at Wikipedia you’ll find following description:

In common parlance, the core of the body is broadly considered to be the torso. Functional movements are highly dependent on this part of the body, and lack of core muscular development can result in a predisposition to injury. The major muscles of the core reside in the area of the belly and the mid and lower back (not the shoulders), and peripherally including the hips, the shoulders and the neck.

What is the core?

The core is the term we use when we’re describing the muscles in the body that stabilize and support all of the body’s movements. By mistake many people think that the core is only the abdominal muscles, but actually the core is described as just about everything on your body that isn’t your legs and arms.

The core is our body’s midsection, the body’s corset or belt. It is here your inner power or your center is generated in order to carry out any movement. The inner and outer abdominal muscles play a large role in core stability, but the muscles on the front, back, sides, pelvic floor, and also the scapula, glutes and hips are all needed to maintain body balance.

 

Why do we need core strength?

Look at the body as a house. The core is the base; it has to have a strong and stable foundation not to collapse and to be able to carry the body in our every daily life. This base provides structure and safety, and it takes time to build up this strength.

Often people think of their core when they are doing traditional ab exercises – how to achieve a flat and strong abdomen. Core strength is much more than that! Naturally the core is designed to engage in any movement; we need a strong core for everyday activities – lifting, bending, reaching, pulling, walking running and even breathing.

Inactive abdominals and a weak core can, for example, be caused by sedentary lifestyle, wrong isolated training, lack of rehabilitation after delivery, and bad digestion or inflammation in the intestines.

 

How to train the core

In order to train the core effectively we have to start slowly to build our foundation. We need to train all muscles involved; they have to work together as a team. Traditional abdominal exercises like crunches and sit ups are often used to achieve a stronger core and working the “six-pack”. Proper core training is much more than that.

 

Some myths about core training are:

Training on an unstable foundation is activating the abdominal muscles better; you have to draw in the navel when you are training your core; you have to activate the abdomen to relieve the pressure on your back; the more crunches you do the stronger abdominal muscles you get.

 

Try not to get caught up in myths, but instead focus on beginning to train your core correctly:

  • Be aware of your breath
  • Work with joint mobility and control in your spine
  • Train cross movements that requires motor coordination in your whole body and train the entire corset
  • Do not make isolated movements

 

 

Goal for the core classes is to:

  • Improve structural alignment
  • Improve whole body strength
  • Increase functional movement
  • Improve body awareness & kinesthetic sense
  • Improve static dynamic range of motion (mobility)
  • Increase core stability and joint durability
  • Keep the breath a focus as it guides the movements
  • Give plenty of personal attention with small groups in order to help correct form
  • Strengthen the body from the inside out

 

 

 


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