What is “The Core”?
The core has for a long time been a focus in the fitness world and has been seen as a remedy for injury. There are many different definitions out there.
In a physiotherapy context, we define the core as a group of muscles. There is the pelvic floor on the bottom, our diaphragm on the top, and a muscle called transversus abdominus that wraps around like a cumberbun with multifidus at the back. These are our deeper “stabilising” muscles. Our more superficial muscles, such as the abdominals and the obliques, also have a role in our core -they act as “mover” muscles and when we need more support, such as lifting heavy objects.
What should I work on?
Most gym programs focus largely on these superficial muscles eg, sit-ups or planks to work the abdominals. The important thing to realise is this is only one part of the core. We need everything working together. Generally speaking, you want to have developed a good foundation (activation and strength) in your deeper stabilisers first before you heavily start training your superficial muscles. This is particularly important after injury or childbirth as these muscles can become stretched, and/or weaker.
So strengthening the core will fix my pain?
Not everyone in pain needs to train their core. Some of us are underactive in these muscles and need training. While some of us overwork through these muscles bracing our body, which can lead to stiffness and compression.
Where should I begin?
If you are unsure how to use your core, the best place to start is a physiotherapy assessment. This will help identify your needs and get you started on training the right areas.
If you have any questions, please contact us and book for an assessment.