If you have spent any length of time in the gym, playing sport or on the treatment couch, there is a very good chance you have heard the phrase ‘core stability’. It refers to a specific type of training concentrating on the deep muscles of the trunk that help to stabilise the spine, pelvis and hips during both dynamic movements (running, jumping, skiing, kicking etc…), and static positions (sitting, standing etc…). Good core stability is one of the most effective ways to prevent injuries, develop co-ordination, maintain good posture and improve physical and sports performance.
Where is my core?
Your core is composed of more than 30 muscles across your back, stomach and hips. Here are some of the key contributors to core stability:
- Transverse abdominals – the body’s natural weight-lifting belt stabilising the spine and pelvis during lifting movements
- Erector Spinae – tiny but powerful muscles in the low back which help to keep the spine upright (sitting and lifting) and also rotate the spine forcefully (golf, tennis, football)
- Obliques – the muscles that help to produce twisting movements of the torso
- Quadratus Lumborum – a strong short muscle that helps with bending the spine to the side and extending the back
- Gluteal muscles – strong, powerful muscles that help you to stand up from sitting and also stabilise the pelvis from excessive side to side movement when running
- Pelvic Floor – provides support for the pelvic organs but also helps produce intra-abdominal pressure which is vital to lifting movements
How can I improve my core strength?
You don’t need to go to the gym and start lifting heavy weights to develop a better core. Simply sitting with a neutral s-shaped spine and standing up from sitting whilst maintaining this shape will be a great start. Pilates is a highly recommended method of strengthening the core, although it may not be to everyone’s taste due to it’s slow, gentle nature.
Alternatively, you may want to book some sessions at our clinic where we will take you through a selection of specific core stability exercises designed to ‘switch on’ your core stability and start to make a difference.