All About That Core: Does Having a Six-Pack Equate to Good Core Stability?

June 22, 2017

 

What is the core?

 

 

What makes the core stable?

 

 

And what makes it strong?

 

 

Core stability and core strength are the biggest trends in the fitness and physiotherapy world.

 

 

If you asked most people how they train their core, they would list a series of abdominal exercises.

 

 

If they’ve been to the Physio or Pilates, they may equate it to some form of lower abdominal contraction with progressive limb loading and working on unstable surfaces.

 

 

But is your core just your abs?

 

 

Simply put. No. It’s not.

 

 

Let’s take a step back.

 

 

In the beginning…

 

 

We were born floppy little beings that needed our parents to do everything for us, but as we grew and started to move all that changed…

 

 

We started to hold up our head, sit unsupported, roll over, crawl, pull up to stand…and then we were off! Stumbling at first, walking, running, we moved more and as we moved we got stronger, faster and leaner. We ran, we jumped, skipped and hopped and played.

 

 

As Grey CooK says, we were born with mobility, but we earned our stability.

 

 

Stability being the ability to maintain control of our trunk and pelvis as we move our limbs. Some regions of the body naturally require more stability and some mobility, based on anatomy.

 

 

With regions of the cervical spine, shoulder blade, lumbar spine and knee proposed as areas requiring stability, and the shoulder, thoracic spine, hips and ankle requiring mobility.

 

 

But is that model too simple?

 

 

It proposes that if you lose mobility in your thoracic spine, you may get pain in your neck, shoulder or lower back as a result.

 

 

The Thoracic Ring Approach™ proposes that the thoracic spine is a MOBILE region, which requires a great deal of STABILITY, due to the fact that each thoracic ring contains 13 joints, and where you have a joint you require control or stability.

 

 

I would argue that the majority of the body requires stability or control – the neck, shoulder trunk, lower back, hips, knees and feet.

 

 

Each region requires control for optimal function, and thus all regions can contribute to your stability or control.

 

 

To challenge your core not everything you do needs to be abdominally focused.

 

 

Having 6-pack abs does not equate to “good core stability” (Maybe core strength?...maybe?!?).

 

 

The abdominals may be strong and able to generate force, but at the same time, the trunk may be compressed and rigid compressed, increasing load through the neck and lower back. 

 

 

While some stiffness is a good thing, too much compression which reduces range of motion decreases your options available for movement.

 

 

Do you know anyone with 6-pack that has back pain?

 

 

With well-balanced trunk muscles that do not compress and stiffen the body, you can generate MORE force through your muscles. Your body requires space to move optimally, giving you more options for movement.

 

This requires a balance between your deep and superficial trunk muscles, allowing for optimal chest expansion for breathing.

 

 

This is what  gives you STABILITY and STRENGTH!

 

 

 

 

Want to build a strong stable core? Check out our current Class Timetable.

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