CORE Series: Part 1
By: Kyle Stafford, DPT -SUMMIT Claremore Clinic
- What is meant by the term “core”? I can speak for most of us in that we have all heard the term “core”. It could be from that late night infomercial that is going to change your life to the 3 minute DVD workout plan that will get you ripped with some abs. Regardless, most of us have had this term hit our ears at some point. What many may not know is that your core is far from just your abdominals that look good at the beach. It is a working unit ranging from your pelvic floor muscles to the diaphragm for breathing, and many muscle groups in between.
- Core is critical… As mentioned above, your core entails many parts all functioning as a unit to provide your spine with stability & strength for a low risk of injury and optimal daily function. Think of it like a box that entails your glutes/hip, low back muscles, diaphragm, abdominal muscles, & pelvic floor… Just to keep it simple. In all humans there are tendencies, weaknesses, & compensations we use throughout the everyday routine. The key is finding out that compensation pattern or hole(s) in our core, & correcting them for improved human performance.
- Human performance… performance is not just for the elite athlete or those in sports. Human performance is for anyone needing to move to function in their everyday life. From the construction worker to the office secretary, we all have different movements our core needs to provide stability in order for us to function properly. Sitting at a desk for 8-9 hours a desk is a completely different stress then a person who works in a lumber yard. One is more of a static or stationary stress held for a long period of time. The other is multiple short bursts of heavy stresse(s) & larger movements throughout the day.
- Stability vs Strength… Stabilization is not just tightening your abs. It is a chain reaction of muscle firing/activation that starts with your breathing or your diaphragm. That is why controlling your breathing can really enhance your core’s ability to function properly. Strength is the ability to use the core to move in spite of resistance. Strength must be trained after stability, otherwise you are just swimming upstream. That would be like driving a vehicle with half of the tires nuts/bolts screwed in properly. It is not a matter of time if you will have problems down the road, but when… You can hide it for a while, but eventually the instability will be exposed.
- So what does this mean?… I hate to break it to you, but if you are alive & breathing you have some sort of hole/weakness/instability in your core. The good news is that daily training, awareness, & correction can take your body a long ways if built into the daily routine. Physical therapists are the human movement specialists and establishing a solid exercise plan for your core can be a discussion that prolongs your health.
- Parts 2 and 3… stay tuned for the parts 2 and 3 for a look at the core’s function for the athletic and non-athletic population. Pictures for some basic exercises/rationale will be posted!!!