If you asked the average Joe what consists of the core in the human body, I bet 9 times out of 10 you’d get this response, “The abs” and he’d probably point to his stomach. Well average Joe is only partly right; the core can be described as a muscular box with the abdominals in the front, paraspinals and gluteals in the back, the diaphragm on the roof, and the pelvic floor and hip girdle musculature as the bottom. I bet Average Joe spends most of his core training doing sit-ups, crunches, side crunches, reverse crunches, etc….however, there are a few problems with this type of training.
1) Repetive flexion of the lumbar spine actually puts some pretty scary compressive forces; in fact, it is a leading cause of disc herniation! Think of a credit card bending repetitively until it snaps and you’ll get the picture.
2) The primary function of the core is to stabilize the pelvis in conjuction with the spine, so why are you training for lumbar spine mobility?
3) Repetive flexion leads to muscle imbalances and dysfunction. Think of how are body spends most of its time during the day; sitting with poor posture (rounded shoulders, head forward, hips flexed) already leads to the poor posture many people have, and then those same people go to the gym and reinforce and encourage those imbalances to exist. Do you see the problem here?
4) Think of the core in 3-D and train the core in 3-D. Planking and bridging are excellent ways to learn how to stabilize the pelvis and spine.
Understanding the primary function of the core is the first step towards changing your core program. In fact, it may be the cure to your low back troubles!
– Coach Street