Core Stability: What Is It, Really?

Core stability is a word that is misused enough that I felt motivated to discuss it in today’s article. Our “core” is the center of our body; everything from ribs to pelvis. It houses the lumbar spine and is surrounded by vertical muscles in the front and back and hoop muscles around the sides. “Stability” is the ability to resist movement and to support when demand is applied. A bridge is stable when it supports cars from the top and resists wind from the sides.

Think of our core as a coke can. Try pressing straight down (as gravity and our upper bodies do) on the can and it is surprisingly strong. Next, try denting that can on one side and then press down again. The can is much weaker. My point is that our core is very stable and supportive IF we keep our posture in neutral and allow its natural cylinder shape to support us. This is why we are always told to sit up straight.

The “abs are sheet-like (flat and short) muscles, designed “from the factory” for stability. On the other hand, the hamstrings are long and thick muscles, meant for movement; to bend the knee and extend the hip. So, when you think of exercises geared toward the core train stability not movement. Your back will thank you for it. Stay away from sit-ups, crunches, and the trunk flexion/extension or rotation machine in the gym. Lift with your hips and knees while keeping your back stiff and straight. I promise you that increasing your activity and a healthy diet will do way more for your “six pack abs” than hundreds of crunches.

In Summary:
-Sit with slightly better posture, nothing drastic.
-Keep your back straight when you bend or lift, even the lightest objects.
-Stay away from exercises that move your back; Stability not Mobility.

If you should have any questions about back safety, core stability, or safe exercises to train your core, please visit WWW.IMSJC.COM or call 615-302-4747 and as always, Get In Motion Spring Hill.