Monday, January 06, 2014

What Do We Mean When We Talk about Core?

The gym where I work is offering trainer workshops for the month of January and I was asked to come up with a topic to present.  After a few days I settled on "Core for Beginners."

These days fitness people throw around the word "core" the way the fitness people of the past used the word "abs."  But what is "The Core" and why is it important?


A simple way to think about your core is to think of it as your body's center. You can also think of it as your body's base from which your extremities extend.  Your head, arms and legs are attached to your core.

In a spiritual sense, you can also think of your core as your heart's center or your "core beliefs."

In fitness, your core is the basic musculature that supports your pelvis and your spine.  It's role is to provide stability to you in movement.  Essentially your core muscles allow you to move your body in a variety of ways (planes of movement.)

Muscles of the Core

There are four basic muscles groups of the core.

  • Abdominals: rectus abdominus, the tranverse abdominus and the internal and external obliques
  • Spine: erector spinae and multifidus 
  • Pelvic floor 
  • Hip gluteus maximus and rectus, quadriceps, psoas
This is a pretty basic list.  For more detail you can visit an anatomy website.

Exercises for the Core

Truthfully, any dynamic movement will involve the core.  But if you want to specifically work the core, then there are an infinite number of exercises that will strengthen the muscles that support your body.  Below is a listing of mat exercises that can be done at home or in the gym.  These are my favorites and all of my clients are quite familiar with them.

And, please, always maintain a neutral spine to protect your back.  The easiest way to to that: keep you head on the floor!!!

Check back next week for a second list of exercises using exercise balls and other equipment.

Be well and get active.

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