Core Training 101

The core is the most important musculature system in the body! It is actively involved in almost all movements. Especially for athletes, if you have a weak core, you won’t ever play to your full potential. Having a weak core can lead to faulty movement patterns and energy leaks. Energy leaks are a loss of power on the field. In other words, having a strong core translates to powerful and efficient, full-body movements. Now that you understand the importance of the core let’s talk about the anatomy of it.

 

Anatomy of the Core

 

The core is very misunderstood and many people think it’s just the superficial six- pack abs you see in front of the mirror. Those abdominal muscles are definitely part of the core but a lot of people forget the importance on the other core muscles. The core can be broken down into three components. These three components are the inner core and the anterior and posterior outer chain of the outer core. The inner core consists of the diaphragm, pelvic floor, multifidi and transverse abdominis. The anterior chain of the core is the rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques, and hip flexors. Lastly, the posterior chain consists of the thoracolumbar fascia, spinal erectors and the latissimus dorsi.

 

The inner core is important because it is activated first in the start of every movement. It helps stabilize the body and is used in “bracing” when lifting. After the inner core is engaged, the outer core can execute the movement being performed. The anterior and posterior chains work together to help stabilize the body and also help perform movements in a controlled and correct manner.   

 

What are the main functions of the core?

 

A common misconception of the core is that its main function is to flex the torso up and down or that it simply makes you look good.

 

The core has many functions, but can be broken down to a couple things:

 

1. Stabilizing the spine and pelvis

2. Resisting or preventing unwanted movements

3. Absorbing and transferring forces across the kinetic chain and throughout one’s extremities.

 

All these functions help the athlete perform and move well. This shows the importance of core training. Stay tuned for my next article on my favorite core exercises .