Most people, when asked what their core is- point to their rectus abdominus and say “Your abs”. It is true that your abs are a part of your core, but they are also the most overworked part of your core, and can unbalance your entire structure if that is all you work. People will do crunches day in and day out- which works only the superficial rectus abdominus. This muscle exists to flex the spine and attaches at the ribs and pelvis. So, you tell me, if you do crunches every day, how’s your back going to feel? How are you going to look? I’ll answer that- you are going to have some serious back pain and you will be eternally hunched over. You might have a great 6 pack though. (By the way, no one will take you seriously if you are hunched over).
Ok, So what IS the core? It’s a combination of all the muscles that help stabilize your spine. Back muscles, abdominal muscles, pelvic floor muscle, not to mention chest and glutes. Every muscle that helps keep your spine healthy. Makes sense if you think about it.
As I was doing research on this subject, I came across an article that states it all in a simple way. Check it out… http://vanessaruns.com/2010/03/25/post28/
I believe that one of the most important spinal stabilizers is the tranversus abdominus. It goes around the spine like a girdle and holds it in place. You can also see the pelvic floor muscle in this pic, along with the multifidis. One of the best ways to trigger the tranversus abdominus is to hold a plank position.
If you only had one minute a day to work out, this is what I would suggest to you. Balance on your forearms and the balls of your feet with your body long and tight (like a plank!) between the two. Keep your tailbone reaching towards your heels (as opposed to the ceiling) , pull your belly button in and tighten your thighs. Make sure your chest is between the elbows and that you are breathing.
I can’t express to you enough how important it is to take care of your core and thus your spine. Every move you make comes from the spine. If your spine is unhealthy and in pain, it takes (at the least) so much energy from you that you don’t have anything left to do the things you want to do. All your energy is spent on just standing up. So if you want to have something left to do the things you want and save some brain space for things you want to think about, then hop to it! Take care of your spine.
If you need further assistance or have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Your Fitness Coach,