Abs and Core Stability

All About Core, Myths Busted and Training Tips

What is Core Stability?

Core stability comes from the muscles of the back and abdomen. These muscles act together to form a “back brace” that enables you to control and prevent unwanted movement in the spine. A strong core is key to injury rehabilitation and prevention, and also enhanced sport performance.

Six-Pack = Strong Core?

It’s time to ditch the sit-ups. Research has shown that just training your “six-pack” (or, your “abs”) does NOT lead to a healthy back. The spine relies on a variety of trunk muscles to provide stability (obliques, lats, and transverse abdominus – to name a few!). In order to have a healthy spine, it’s vital to strengthen ALL aspects of the core, not just one part.

How do I Work on My Core?

“Core bracing” is the main technique used for core training. With this, the emphasis is on maintaining a “neutral” spine (not too arched, not too curved), while engaging the trunk muscles as a group. You can try it at home – standing tall on your feet, tighten your entire trunk as if someone is about to poke you in the stomach. You should feel your entire torso “firm-up” (front, sides, and back), but your spine shouldn’t change shape (no slouching or arching).

Sample Exercises

Here are a few examples of exercises (try holding them for a count of 5, then repeating):

Bird DogBird Dog

How To: Brace your core. Extend back with a leg, focusing on keeping the body in the same position – do not shift the hips.

Side BridgeSide Bridge
How To: Bring the hips up and forward so that you are in a straight line from shoulder to knee (knees stay on the ground).

Stability CrunchStability Crunch

How To: both hands under your back, come up leading with the chest, ensuring there is no increase in pressure on the hands.

 

A strong core is a healthy back!

This article was contributed by our Practicing Kinesiologist, Antony Tsang, B.H.K.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 604-620-9700 or browse through our website for more information!