What Is A Core and Why Do You Need One?


What do you think about when you hear, “strong core?” Washboard abs? Yeah me too! But there are so many other reasons to maintain a strong core! Let’s first define which muscles make up the core.
The core is divided into stabilizers and movers. The stabilizers work to stabilize the body during multi-plane movements, they work to keep certain body parts steady and stable so the primary movers can perform.
The stabilizers:
  • Transverse abdominis
  • Internal obliques
  • Lumbar multifidus
  • Pelvic floor muscles
  • Diaphragm
  • Transverspinalis
The movers are the muscles doing the majority of the work and where you’ll feel the effects of the activity the most.
The movers:
  • Rectus abdominis
  • External obliques
  • Erector spinae
  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Hamstrings
  • Hip adductors
  • Hip abductors

A sturdy core enables more powerful movements of the upper and lower extremities. Take pitching or hitting in baseball for example. The potential for a 100 mph pitch or an out-of-the-park home run swing is generated from the hips, not the arms. Take marital arts as another example, the force behind the kick comes from the strength, stability, and adequate use of the hip muscles.

A weak or inflexible core impairs how well your arms and legs function. A strong core = power or proximal stability for distal mobility. A strong core also improves lower extremity balance and stability. This can help prevent falls and injuries during sports or other activities.

No matter what, a strong core is a part of everything you do whether at home:
  • putting on shoes;
  • making the bed;
  • standing up from a chair;
  • turning;
  • sweeping;
  • mopping;
  • dusting;
  • squatting to get a pan from a low cabinet
Or at work:
  • lifting;
  • twisting;
  • standing;
  • reaching;
  • bending
A strong core prevents or eliminates low back pain and improves participation in recreational activities such as:
  • running;
  • kayaking;
  • rowing;
  • bowling;
  • swimming;
  • sex
A strong core contributes to good posture, lessens deterioration of the spine and facilitates deep breathing.
So don’t just go hardcore on planks; a strong core requires strengthening of all of the contributing muscles.
In the next blog, I will discuss my 6 top core strengthening exercises.
Book Authored by Deidre Ann Johnson

Keep this handy book by your desk or in your carry on for tips to keep you flexible and pain free.