By: Mike Staszak, PT
What are your core muscles?
When you hear people talk about the "core muscles" do you know what they are talking about? In simple terms, your core muscles are your deeper muscles groups. This means you can think of your deeper hip muscles, lower abdominal muscles (not your six-pack abdominals), pelvic floor, and scapular muscles as your core. Your core is where your power is generated in order to carry out any movement. While abdominal muscles do play a large role in core stability, they don’t make up the core all by themselves.
What does the core do?
Your core most often acts as a stabilizer and force transfer center rather than a prime mover. Yet people consistently focus on training their core as a prime mover and in isolation. This would be doing crunches or back extensions versus functional movements like deadlifts, squats, and pushups, among many other functional closed chain exercises. By training that way, not only are you missing out on a major function of the core, but also better strength gains, more efficient movement, and longevity of health.
Why is it so important to have your core muscles working properly?
If you have a muscle group not functioning properly other muscles will try to do their job, and they are not very good at it. For example: if your lower abdominal muscles are not functioning well your lower back or anterior hip muscles will take over, leading to compensation patterns that turn into bigger problems eventually. Similar compensatory patterns can develop in other areas as well. These are some of the biggest issues we deal with in our Physical Therapy practice on a daily basis.
So, with all this in mind, it's a good idea to keep your core at the top of the "to strengthen" list. But remember, if you are not strengthening these areas correctly you could be making the problems worse.
If you'd like personal help in strengthening your core, contact us today to schedule time with one of our Physical Therapists or certified personal trainers.
About Mike Staszak
Michael Staszak has been an outpatient orthopedic physical therapist for the past 27 years. He is the owner of Staszak Physical Therapy & Wellness Center in Eugene. He and his staff believe that the more people understand how their bodies work and learn proper body mechanics, the less likely they are to become injured again. With this commitment to patient education, Michael provides wellness articles and presentations for businesses and community members.
Images from NBC News, Health Line, Men’s Health
Evolve Fitness Studios
Check out posts from our trainers, healthy recipes, and tips for staying motivated and more!