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Core Stability : How To Improve the Core Muscles

If you read any fitness websites or magazines, if you play any sports, if you do Pilates, if you have suffered from a back injury, then it is likely that you are familiar with the “core” of the body. This muscle grouping is a key fitness component to many types of sports people and indeed those recovering from back problems. Today our physiotherapist, Manus MacGabhainn outlines how this grouping of muscles and also how to activate your core muscles. Strengthening of the core is for people of all ages  and walks of life, so keep reading here to find out more!

What Does Our Core Muscles Do?

The Core is often referred to as the powerhouse, the foundation on which all limb movements are based on. In recent years this has become a very important strengthening process for top athletes. Sports people such As Andy Murray, Jessica Ennis, Katie Taylor, Tiger Woods and Brian O’Driscoll, all work continually on developing their core stability and use it as the foundation to physically develop and meet the challenges of their respective sports.

What are Your Core Muscles?

These are a group of muscles that surround the spine and abdomen to support it like a corset.

See the image on the right, that illustrates some of these key core muscles.

By being able to activate and control these core muscles we can give greater stability to the spine and increase the functional quality of limbs. This is why it is so vital for controlling lower back pain and also why elite athletes dedicate so much training towards it.

Core is Vital for Controlling Lower Back Pain.

Core strengthening is not just for sports people and elite athletes. It is critical for controlling lower back pain in people of all ages, shapes and sizes. Core stability and strengthening play a vital role in the rehabilitation, treatment and prevention of back pain. Numerous studies and research have shown the effectiveness of the core in treating and controlling lower back pain.

Learning How to Activate Your Inner Core!

Patients often come to me saying that they have being doing core exercises, recommended and advised by friends, in the gym and it’s made their lower back feel worse than ever. They have heard so much about how great it has worked for their friends. They have jumped straight into the core exercises they have seen and been shown possible in classes and find their symptoms have gotten worse. They believe core just does not work for them.

 

Answer: THEIRS IS NO QUICK TRICK TO ACHIEVING TRUE CORE ACTIVATION.

People want instant results and jump into core exercises that are too advanced for them. True core strengthening is a not as easy or as quick when correctly taught, as people may believe. It takes time, a bit of patience and practice.

The core needs to be looked at as a skill set that needs time and practice to become better. You must learn to the basics very well first before advancing. In regards to core you must learn to crawl before you walk.

Once the basic activation is correct and working you can then progress to endless variation of difficulty and specified strengthening.

There are 3 steps to correct core activation and technique.

  • Basic motor skill training
  • Basic motor skill strengthening
  • Functional Progression.

So, you have got to learn how to correctly activate your core, strengthen your core and then finally make that functional for you.

If you are willing to follow and go through these correct steps then you too can release your inner core.

Useful Links

Core conditioning (part 1)
Core Conditioning (part 2)

If you are not sure how to do this you can talk to our physiotherapists such as Manus  who will be able to advise you best on how to improve core strength. Contact us today if you would like to book an appointment.