What Exactly Is Our Core??

I touched briefly on this subject during a previous blog “Common Health & Fitness Jargon/Terms”so I’ll carry on from where I left off. When the core is mentioned in relation to human anatomy, often people think abdominals or abdominal workouts, however our body’s core covers a much greater area. Yes, you guessed it, here comes another Wikipedia reference. I find this sums up my understanding of the core extremely well.

“In common parlance, the core of the body is broadly considered to be the torso. Functional movements are highly dependent on this part of the body, and lack of core muscular development can result in a predisposition to injury. The major muscles of the core reside in the area of the belly and the mid and lower back (not the shoulders), and peripherally include[clarification needed] the hips, the shoulders and the neck.”

“Major muscles included are the pelvic floor muscles, transversus abdominis, multifidus, internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis, erector spinae (sacrospinalis) especially the longissimus thoracis, and the diaphragm. Minor core muscles include the latissimus dorsi, gluteus maximus, and trapezius.”
Role of the Core

The core’s main purpose is to stabilise our body during our everyday movements and tasks, like moving, breathing and continence related. The core muscles also act as protection against potential injuries in particular spinal and hip as well as strengthening essential muscles for pregnant women during each phase of pregnancy. In relation to fitness and exercise having a strong and stable core is necessary for maximising strength gains in lifts like Deadlift, Squat, Bench and Shoulder Press as well as performing bodyweight movements such as pull ups and pressups. If you’re more into your cardio then training your core will also benefit running, cycling, rowing etc.

So how do we test, strengthen and stabilise our core? Below are a few exercises to try out. If you’re unsure if you can do these please consult a medical or fitness professional for advice. As well as these common exercises below, performing compound movements like squats and deadlifts will strengthen your core.

Basic Core Exercise
The Glute Bridge

Lay on your back with both knees bent, bring your feet towards your hips keeping them flat on the floor. Keep your feet at hip width distance. Start to squeeze your abdominal muscles, whilst maintaining a flat back. Lift your hip off the floor, by driving through your heels, maintaining a flat back and try not to over arch it. Clench your glutes and maintain abdominal engagement then lower yourself back down to the floor. Here’s a Youtube Link demonstrating this movement.


Intermediate to Advanced Core Exercise

The Plank
If you’re unsure how to perform a plank here are a few instructions, also check out this YouTube link demonstrating the exercise. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvxNkmjdhMM
Hold your weight on your elbows (with your hands in front) and Toes whilst keeping your hips and back flat. Clench your glutes and pull in your abdominal muscles, whilst maintaining a flat back. Ensure you consciously keep breathing and hold until you can longer maintain this posture. If you iscan hold this over a minute then that is generally considered as good core strength. One way to test stability and strength further could be to perform the plank with your elbows on a stability ball or by raising one leg off the floor alternating sides.
The Side Plank
Start on your side, with the weight on your forearm with your legs stacked on each other. Ensure your body is aligned in a straight line with your hips pushed in. Using your core muscles lift your body off the floor until your shoulders and hips are aligned and hold this position for as long as you can. Have short rest then do the same on the other side. Here’s a YouTube clip to demonstrate this.

For Further information on this check out the links below or feel free to comment or message me.


Yoganatomy – Educating and Inspiring – David Keil – Yoga Anatomy Workshops (Pro)



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