Core stability and core strength are terms we hear commonly in 2019. You yourself may have a good idea that having a stronger “core” will keep the strong, healthy and injury-free. If you have ever been injured, it will be a key component to you moving and feeling better so you can do all the things you love to do!
In the clinic some common things we hear from clients:
“I have no core!”
“I have a weak core!”
“I can’t find my core.”
“I was told I have no core.”
“I would like a stronger core.”
“Sit-ups and planks are the best way to strengthen my core, aren’t they?”
“I get back pain when I do my core exercises, why is that?”
The list goes on…
From a physio perspective some of these can be a bit frustrating.
You do have a core - if you didn’t you would be struggling to move!
Sit-ups are NOT the best exercises to strengthen your core!
So what exactly is your core?
Your “core” can be divided into your inner unit or deep muscular system and your outer unit or superficial muscle system
Your inner unit is made up of your:
Your “outer unit”, the global, “bigger” core muscles include:
When it comes to strengthening your core muscles at the gym, most people think of sit-ups, planks, side-planks and various other exercises that are abdominally focused. As I outlined above your core muscles extend beyond your abs, to include your glutes, back muscles, diaphragm and pelvic floor.
Injuries in the gym are very common and they can happen for a number of reasons.
Key factors contributing to the development of injuries include:
Previous injury - accidents - falls, accidents, trauma, sports
Right-Left body asymmetries
Loss of mobility and/or strength
Increased volume/intensity of training without supervision and doing it quickly (inexperience)
Common Gym Injuries include:
Hamstring muscle strains
Shoulder/rotator cuff injuries
Lower back pain/nerve impingement
Knee Pain (iliotibial band pain syndrome, patello-femoral pain syndrome)
Of course there are other injuries impacting other areas of your body that can happen in the gym under the “right conditions”.
In our clinical practice we often find that the R-L body asymmetries and loss of mobility and/or strength result from altered trunk control. This can be seen as a lack of mobility in the thorax (trunk) - what we assess as muscular compression, often leads to changes in how you recruit and use your abdominal and back muscles.
Check out our next Blog from Raj talking more about this….