Articles – Core Strength And How To Improve It

Core Strength

Do you want to:

  • Improve Your Flexibility

  • Rehabilitate Back and Knee Pain

  • Prevent Injuries

  • Enhance Athletic Performance?

It is proven that weak, tight and unbalanced muscles are linked to lower limb injuries and pain. Training these muscles effectively will improve posture, reduce strain on the spine and correct postural imbalances that can lead to injuries.

Athletes are showing greater improvements in sport by training their core abdominals and improving their flexibility through stretching. All powerful movements originate from the centre of the body out, not just the limbs alone. If these core muscles are strong and trained to move functionally, the more powerful the extremities can contract.

Adults with chronic back, hip, knee and other joint pain can reduce the amount of inflammation and gain movement in those areas if they focus on strengthening the core muscles that support these areas.

At ASFIT, we run Core Strength Classes that focus on rehabilitation, injury prevention and strengthening of all of the core muscles described below.

The core muscles include:

  • Transverse Abdominals: This muscle is the deepest of the abdominal muscles. It extends between the ribs and the hips, wrapping around the trunk from front to back.  The fibres of this muscle run horizontally, just like a back support belt would be worn. Imagine a corset wrapping around your hips, underneath your belly button. In this way, along with providing postural support, the transverse abdominal muscle helps to contain and support the organs located inside the trunk.

  • Rectus Abdominals: These are between the ribs and the pubic bone at the front of the pelvis. When contracting, this muscle has the characteristic bumps or bulges that are commonly called ‘the six pack’. The main function of the rectus abdominis is to move the body between the ribcage and the pelvis.

  • External Oblique Muscles: These are on each side of the rectus abdominals. The external oblique muscles allow the trunk to twist, but to the opposite side of whichever external oblique is contracting. For example, the right external oblique contracts to turn the body to the left.
  • Internal Oblique Muscles: These are on each side of the rectus abdominals and are located just inside the hipbones. They operate in the opposite way to the external oblique muscles. For example, twisting the trunk to the left requires the left side internal oblique and the right side external oblique to contract together.

  • Gluteals: There are 3 muscles that make up the gluteals of the buttocks. Gluteus maximus is the outermost, gluteus medius is the middle and gluteus minimus is the innermost. This whole area is responsible for moving the thigh and activities that require this action. For example, running, walking, squating, cycling and lunging.

Core strength exercises should be part of everyone’s training program. You don’t need to be an athlete to need core strength. I can guarantee if you get an injury and see a physio, that the first thing they will say is, “Here are some core exercises you need to do to recover”.