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What is the ‘core’?

Published: March 6, 2020

What is it?

The core is a three dimensional cylindrical shape compromised of multiple muscles and tissues that assists with movement in all of the three planes of motion with almost all of the joints in our body. The major muscles making up the core are the pelvic floor muscles forming the base or bottom, at the front of the spine transversus abdominis and rectus abominis, the back multifidus and erector spinae, the sides are formed by the internal and external obliques , and the diaphragm which forms the top of the cylinder. Other muscles which are smaller contributors to core stability and strength are quadratus lumborum, deep hip rotators, as well as cervical and thoracic paraspinal muscles, latissimus dorsi and the gluteals.


What does it do?

For the most part your core most acts as a stabilizer and force transfer centre rather than a prime mover. Many people focus on training their core as a prime mover and in isolation with exercises such as crunches, planks or back extensions rather than movements like deadlifts, lunges, and push-ups just to name a few. Training the core in a way that mimics it’s function out on will likely result in better strength gains, more efficient movement and assist in injury prevention.

The core has an active role in to stabilising the thorax and the pelvis during dynamic movement as well as static positions. It can influence a person’s posture – whether that be standing or sitting. The core muscles align the spine, ribs and pelvis of a person, allowing them to resist a specific force, whether static or dynamic.

It can also provide internal pressure (also known as intra-abdominal pressure) to expel substances such as vomit, faeces etc., as well as providing support for the body when performing tasks with an external load, such as lifting or carrying. A well functioning core ensures we are continent, allowing us the ability to withhold or assist bowel movements, and urinary flow. Therefore a lack of core strength and stability can create bladder control issues and pelvic floor dysfunction.

So the importance of the core cannot be understated in the pursuit of a healthy functioning, injury free body. But what can go wrong if there is an imbalance or injury to the core? And what can you do to train the core in a ‘functional' way? Over the coming weeks we will discuss the issues that can arise from a poor core and how to train your ‘core’.

If you are unsure whether your core is properly functioning or would like to have a Physiotherapist or Exercise Physiologist assess your core, book in to Back in Motion Aspendale Gardens here.