The body “CORE” – What is it, Why should we train it and How? …

In training or any physical activity, one often hears about the importance of the body’s core. The following briefly addresses the What, Why and How of the core …

The “core” refers to the torso of your body including the internal organs. But for movement and health purposes, it is useful to look primarily at the muscles and connective tissue, and to view them from an INNER and an OUTER perspective.

It is generally agreed that the INNER aspect comprises of the pelvic floor, the transverse abdominus (front), the multifidus (back) and the diaphram above. From a health perspective, it would also be useful to add to this the facia that hold the viscera in place such as the mesentery and various related internal structures such as the suspensory muscles and ligaments.

The OUTER aspect involves muscles that are primarily used to move the torso such as your six-pack (rectus abdominus) to flex the front or the obliques that are used for twisting.

The function of the INNER aspect is to stabilize your body for movement and also against gravity, much like the foundation of a house does this for the structure built on top of it. It also provides physical protection for your organs and nervous system. With regular and proper movement, the internal organs are massaged and fluids moved. From a health perspective this goes a long way to avoiding stagnation and physical issues such as visceral adhesions. Movement also significantly promotes circulation and improves organ function..

Training of the OUTER aspect is more beneficial towards direct movement and strength performance, especially towards enhancement of actions from the periphery (limbs). The outer core also provides a physical barrier to protect the internal organs.

Gentle exercises done every day are the best way to a healthy INNER core. In particular Qi Gong, Tai Qi, Pilates, Yoga and specific “inner core strengthening” exercises as recommended by your personal trainer or health practitioner. Secondly and often neglected; the inner core is strongly influenced by the daily behaviours of sitting and standing and in fact any movement. Proper useage and awareness of the inner core can not only prevent injury and weakening but may also actually strengthen it. “Active sitting” as well as yoga breathing can do this for example.

The OUTER core muscles can be trained in more traditional means such as weights, isometric exercises, sports or dance. Free weights are best used however as machines tend to over restrict the movement leaving stabilizing muscles underdeveloped.

This article is but a brief introduction to an interesting aspect of the body we call the core. If you have questions or want more information please feel free to contact Kurt Jurek by email or telephone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *