Core! What is it good for? Absolutely Everything!
You need core stability because your core muscles are the foundation for your upper and lower body. All of our movements in the gym, home, work either originate in your core, or move through it. Which means that weak or inflexible core muscles can impair how well your arms and legs function. And that saps power from many of our movements. A strong core foundation bumps up your power in upper and lower body movements.
A strong core also increases balance and stability. Core stability can help prevent falls and injuries during sports and daily activities. Bending, bathing, dressing, the process of sitting down all require a good strong core for balance and strength. Core stability allows you to move in any direction, even on the bumpiest terrain, or stand in one spot without losing your balance. Have you ever done the panty test? Try putting on your panties without sitting or holding on to anything… that requires good core stability : )
Think of your core as a cannon on a wharf in the ocean. When the cannon shoots a ball, the wharf will jump back from the force of the fire and the ball will lose distance because the power was not going into the ball but into the movement backwards. But when that cannon shoots a ball from the solid foundation of the beach, the ball goes farther and the cannon jumps less. More power went into the ball movement and less into the cannon jumping in place.
Jobs that involve lifting, twisting, and standing all rely on core muscles to stabilize you so that the upper and lower body can have more power. But less obvious tasks, like sitting at your desk for hours, require your core as well.
Low back pain is one of the more common issues I hear from my clients. This may be prevented by exercises that promote well-balanced, resilient core muscles. Often my clients report less pain in their back shortly after starting a core program. Exercises such as Plank, Clam and Bridge, Series of 6 all help to develop the group of muscles known as your core.
Sports such as golf, tennis, biking, running, swimming, baseball, volleyball, kayaking, and rowing are powered by a strong core.
Housework, fix-it work, and gardening rely on your core. Bending, lifting, twisting, carrying, hammering, reaching overhead as well as vacuuming, mopping, and dusting also require a good core foundation. Otherwise your body will have to recruit other muscles, like your back & shoulder to help. Since this is not their job, they are over challenged and may be subjected to injury.
Weak core muscles contribute to slouching. Slouching puts stress on the joints in your spine, contributes to tight muscles between the ribs which reduces the amount of oxygen coming into the body, including the brain. A good strong core will reduce wear and tear on the spine and allow you to breathe deeply, look slimmer and stronger with more confidence.
When I talk about a good strong core, I’m not talking about just the muscles that give you a 6 pack. Your core is made up of movers and stabilizers. Your movers are the ones on the outside of your body. These are the muscles that help you lift, turn, bend side to side and rotate. Your stabilizers are less obvious, they include muscles in the hip stability muscles and the inner core to stabilize your spine. Your inner core is made up of the transverse abdominus, the pelvic floor, multifidi and the diaphragm. That is why good breathing activities help to stabilize your core.
Check out my video on Ab Roller Challenge to improve your core strength and stability.