Core Essentials: Beyond Ab & Back Routines
Getting a strong core means moving beyond a simple ab and back routine and incorporating exercises that develop a strong core, and a stable power center. Your core is your engine of control through life. A strong base of support at the core of the body allows for better transfer of forces to the extremities when we are lifting, throwing, kicking, swinging, running, etc.. To truly train the core, a deeper understanding of core essentials including both the inner and outer musculature is necessary.
The muscles of the inner core include the transversus abdominis, pelvic floor, diaphragm, and quadratus lumborum and multifidi muscles. These muscles assist in stabilizing the spine and pelvis, and help minimize harmful rotational movement (O’Byrne, 2007).
The rectus abdominis, internal obliques, external obliques and erector spinae comprise the “outer core” – the global movers of the spine. The muscles of the outer core assist spinal flexion, lateral flexion, maintenance of an erect posture, and rotation of the trunk.
When training, it is important to utilize inner and outer musculature as you would in daily life, allowing natural mobility in bending, extending, rotating and stabilizing movement. Adding ball exercises to your core workouts is a great way to achieve this.
Some of the benefits of stability ball training include:
- Increased range of motion of the spine.
- Support of the lumbar curve enabling a greater range of resisted motion.
- Accommodation of all fitness levels by adjusting body position or manipulating balance challenge variables.
- Develops balance and strengthens deep stabilizing musculature.
- Enhances motor learning through neuro-receptor activation.
Because the core is the foundation for all movement, exercises that challenge the inner and outer unit in a functional manner are essential. A whole body workout plan which focuses on the core will develop a strong, stable inner unit and create a functionally fit body.