Did you know that the core consists of more than just your abdominal muscles? Actually, the core also includes your lower back, hips, and pelvis. Imagine your core as a trunk of a tree. A weak trunk leaves the tree vulnerable to cracks, breaks, and caving. The same is true for our core muscles; a weak core increases the risk of injury because the body’s foundation support is lacking.
How Does a Strong Core Help in Injury Prevention?
Healthshare.com has great information by various health professionals on the importance of core stability. Dr. Peter Dun states:
“For a range of injuries that can be classified as overuse or repetitive – such as types of neck/lower back pain, groin/hamstring/shoulder rotator cuff problems among others – it is important that assessment of the integrated stabilizing system of the body frame [the core] is included in overall injury management.”
Usain Bolt is a great example of an athlete with a strong core, which is a major contributor to his success as a runner.
“The body is a unit – a kinetic chain of links that work together to maximize speed. While certain links are more important than others (glutes and hammies), all of the body’s muscles must be powerful and coordinated for optimal performance. A strong core can help protect Usain’s spine by transferring forces more efficiently and sparing the lumbopelvic structures.” – Brett Contrenas, CSCS
What Are Some Ways to Strengthen Core Muscles?
Building and maintaining a strong core is pivotal for the body to work as a cohesive unit. Many “core” exercises consist solely of crunches and sit-ups; however, research shows that exercise professionals, and even the military, question these types of exercises because of lower back and spine injuries. Additionally, sit-ups and similar exercises only strengthen the outer layer of the abdominal, the rectus abdominis. If the deeper, internal muscles are overlooked, the core will still be weak. Instead, find exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor, transverse abdominis, and diaphragm. Pilates is a great place to start.
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