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TheraGear Staff
Health and Fitness News Article - TheraGear Article Resource

Introducing "The Core" To Your Workout

Article #13

This thing referred to as "the core" stabilizes the low back and pelvis and works to maintain proper posture and body alignment as we move through our daily activities. Once the core has been established there are few changes that need to be added to a regular fitness routine. The biggest change may be to start using your core to hold your body position and alignment while working out.

So what does the core consist of?

The core is a set of deep postural muscles that assist the bones and ligaments to hold us up against gravity. These muscles... the transversus abdominus (TA), multifidus, pelvic floor, and the diaphragm... form a cylinder or tin can around our torso. When recruited properly they function as a unit and can be referred to as our "inner unit."

The pelvic floor is our foundation, just like the foundation of a house. If it is overstretched or gripping and cannot relax or contract, we lack a solid base of support and it cannot respond to changing loads. Without a solid base of support things can be toppled easily.

The diaphragm is our roof. With proper breathing techniques we get more efficient oxygen exchange in our lungs and a better connection to the core.

The Transversus abdominus and multifidus are the strapping around the cylinder. They form a corset that wraps around the torso. The transverses abdominus runs from the lower six ribs and across the front of the pelvis. The multifidus is a deep multi-segmental muscle that courses the entire spine from the tailbone to the neck. These two muscles should co-contract and work as a unit to tighten the mid section and give the spine a gentle lift, such as Scarlet O'Hara's corset.

the core When the core or the inner unit is not functioning we start to use other muscle to help hold our body alignment and posture. An example may be the internal/external obliques or gluteal muscles. This changes our body alignment, which increases the wear and tear on our joints and exhausts muscles that are designed to move the body not hold the body.
How to bring Core work into your routine:

Attend a workshop or hire a personal trainer that can teach you how to identify neutral spine in lying, sitting and standing. The next step is learning proper breathing techniques, how to isolate a contraction of each of the core muscles and then drawing on them as a unit. Then introduce your newfound knowledge to your regular fitness routine. At first the intensity and duration of this routine will decrease but, in a short period of time you will be stronger and more powerful than ever. By Janice Schonewille,
BSc Kinesiology