Muscle Sport Magazine

Build More Than Great Abs: Core Stability Training (Pt. 1 of 3)

The words “core” and “abs” are often interchangeable in casual workout conversations, but the core is more complex than that coveted six pack. Training both the deep and superficial core muscles protects the spine, increases stability and mobility in joints, and safeguards against injury.

The superficial abdominals that show up when belly fat disappears are just a fraction of the big picture. Having a strong, stable core extends beyond what is seen on the surface. In other words, a ripped stomach does not equal strength and stability. Learning how to tap into the inner core will not only deliver beach-ready abs, but will also increase strength and mobility. Let’s take a look at what makes up the core and how it works.

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The Core Make Up

Though different practitioners have various definitions for the core, the term “core” is used to describe the muscles, bones, and tissue from the sternum to the hips. Think of the core as a cylinder with the diaphragm at the top, the pelvic floor at the bottom, and the walls as the deep torso muscles (transverse abdominis, multifidus, internal obliques) as well as the superficial torso muscles (rectus abdominis, external obliques). The core also includes the hips, SI joint, psoas, pelvis, and lumbar spine.

The core is often thought of as a prime mover for trunk flexion and extension –basically bending forward and leaning back. In turn, most core training revolves around movement, including crunches and back extension (which isn’t a back exercise, but a glutes exercise). But in order to achieve optimal core strength and stability, it’s important to think beyond squeezing the abs.

The core is responsible for proper breathing, maintaining posture, joint stabilization (including the spine), energy absorption and transfer, and urinary and fecal continence. The inner core must be balanced with the outer core for all of these awesome functions to take place – hence the need to think beyond the abs.

To gain a better understand of what the core looks like and how it functions, look for the remaining parts of this series for a breakdown of each muscle.



Photo by Simon Lau 

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  1. Pingback: Play the 'Weighting' Game For Abs To Obtain a Six-Pack | Muscle Sport Magazine

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