WHAT IS THE CORE?
Updated: Oct 12, 2018
Traditional core training that involves crunches and sit-ups has it all wrong. Excessive flexion-based exercises that move your lumbar spine into a rounded position will, over time, deteriorate the discs in your back. Do you really want your training to injure you and cause pain or help you feel and move better? The deep muscles of your core include the transverse abdominus, internal and external obliques, diaghragm, multifidus, pelvic floor muscles, and rectus abdominus. Yes, some of them are designed to create movement in your pelvis and spine, however, their primary role is to prevent movement and hold your spine in a neutral or straight position.
Before getting into any more detail about human anatomy or biomechanics we must ask what the core really is? What is commonly referred to as your core is really all the muscles and surface area between your two ball and socket joints. Those being your hips and shoulders. Yes. If you were to cut off your limbs, head, and neck, everything left over would be your core. This is a huge amount of tissue. Don't you think you should learn how to train it properly? I would say that is pretty dang important. I actually prefer to call this segment of your body the pillar. It is really a linkage center used to transfer force from your legs through your torso and arms.
As a result, the most advantageous ways to train your core involve resisting forces placed upon your spine. Those being flexion or rounding of the spine, extension or arching, rotation or twisting, and lateral flexion or side bending. If you really want to maintain a healthy back, learn how to resist these forces. This is where anti-training comes into play. By building up and strengthening your deep core musculature you will develop the stabilization and endurance necessary to keep your lumbar spine injury-free. Anti-core training incorporates exercises that prevent movement first. Your lower back was not designed to move! As a matter of fact, it should be the most stable and movement free area of your entire body. When it moves too much it gets angry.
Therefore, my entire philosophy on strengthening your deep core is centered on the principle that we must prevent movement first. This is also in accordance with current scientific studies on biomechanics and exercise physiology. Following a joint by joint approach to training and understanding that certain areas of your body were designed for mobility and others for stability will keep you moving efficiently and correctly. Pain in your lower back is usually a result of lack of mobility in the joints above and below this area. Stabilize and strengthen this area and increase range of motion in the hips and thoracic spine and your lumbar spine will thank you.