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).
Here are a few examples of exercises (try holding them for a count of 5, then repeating):
How To: Brace your core. Extend back with a leg, focusing on keeping the body in the same position – do not shift the hips.
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).
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.
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