The “core” is a trendy term that’s gained a lot of popularity in recent years. It’s heard in many places including social media, gyms, studios, and physical therapy clinics. The core is a colloquial term used to describe a group of trunk muscles that are integral to every movement your body makes.
Think of the core like a balloon of muscles: diaphragm on top, pelvic floor on bottom, the spinal muscles at the back, and the abs on the front and sides. By contracting just your abs, you are increasing the pressure throughout the rest of the system: squeezing the balloon only on the front and sides. The key is to coordinate the contraction of the abdominals with all the other muscles: the diaphragm uses breath to support the top; the pelvic floor helps to lift the bottom and the spinal muscles protect your spine. This method contains the pressure created by the abdominals, prevents injury and provides a solid foundation for all other movement of your body.
Strength of the core muscles is crucial, going far beyond the superficial need for a six-pack. They not only act as stabilizers, but also enable you to move in the most optimal way. A strong core is essential in preventing injury, moving efficiently, supporting your organs, and even preventing conditions like incontinence. These are key muscles whether you are performing a strenuous exercise or simply moving around on a daily basis.
So what’s the best way to train your core? Many people think that the simple answer is crunches. A variety of exercises is recommended which provides more versatility to your body and enables the body to stabilize movements for many different activities. There are many ways to strengthen and train your core in a functional way. Various fitness classes, including yoga and pilates, are effective and are available for many different skill levels. Many people switch their desk chair for an exercise ball to encourage the core to work even when you are sitting down. You can also talk to a physical therapist or athletic trainer for more specific exercises that are best for your body and goals.
Picture from: https://www.girlsgonestrong.com/blog/pregnancy/pregnancy-core-training-myths/