by James Laughlin, PTA
You’ve heard it before. “You must strengthen your core”. “Your core is essential to sport performance”. “Strengthen your core and eliminate back pain”. The list goes on and on. All of these statements can be true. So why does your core matter? Developmentally the core is your foundation providing a central attachment for your extremities to anchor. Much like a house is not stable without a solid foundation, your body needs a similar anchor point.
Benefits of an energetic and engaged core:
- Acts as a shock absorber to protect against injury
- Allows for efficient body adjustments to enhance balance and stability
- Forms an anchor point for efficient movement
- Assists in transferring power to the extremities to improve power output
What is your core?
Now that we know the benefits of the core, we must define what is the core? One school of thought takes a broader look at the core defining it as your midsection extending from just below your chest to just above your knees. Another school of thought defines the core narrowly as the Transverse Abdominus (the deepest layer of our abdominal wall).
A working definition of the core
So which school of thought is more accurate or useful? Both are accurate taken in context. We have multiple layers of muscles within our body serving a multitude of responsibilities. The deepest layer of our muscles works locally providing stability to assist with efficient movement of the joints themselves. Without these muscles’ movement would be inefficient and increase risk of injury to the joint or muscles. Our outermost layer of muscles is responsible for creating the movements we are familiar with – lifting the arm or swinging the leg while running.
How do you strengthen your core?
Energizing the core requires efficient recruitment of these muscles. More than strength, muscles must perform when needed. An energized core is stable and dynamic allowing for efficient movement, transfer of power and protection from injury. Below I will introduce a valuable exercise to help “prime” your core.
The “Single Best” Core Exercise
Today I want to introduce one exercise that will help you to “turn on” your core. The Diagonal Chop incorporates not only the movement muscles but also engages the local stabilizing muscles as well. Through physiological principles this movement will ensure that both layers of the core engage making the remaining core work you do more effective.
If you have any questions or feel any pain or strain when performing core exercises please reach out online or call us at 866-588-0230!