Core Facts

 In Workout

The deep core muscles consist of the transverse abdominis muscle, multifidis, diaphragm and pelvic floor muscles.

Why are they so important?

They are the inner muscles that provide stability for the pelvis and spine during movement. A strong core allows smooth contraction and movement of the arms, legs and back. Strong core muscles enable us to move better and avoid injury.

How do we find our core muscles?

Wrap your fingers around your pelvic bone on the left and right side and gently press into your lower abdomen. Your fingers are now sitting just over the core muscles. Now activate your core by gently drawing in your lower abdominals in towards your spine. You should feel them tense under your fingertips. Ideally these should work with your pelvic floor muscles, and you can activate these by ‘holding’ – as if stopping urine passing.

We can also use our breathing to activate the core muscles. Rather than the gentle controlled contraction of the abdominals, fill your lungs by drawing in a long deep breath through your nose, now breath out forcefully as if blowing through a straw, as if your trying to squeeze all the air out your lungs, drawing the abdominals towards your spine. Again, you will feel the core muscles activate under your fingertips.

How can we train them?

Activate core muscles as above and hold for a few seconds while attempting to maintain normal breathing and repeat 5-10 times. Gradually extend each activation by a few seconds.

Exercises that help challenge and strengthen our core muscles include, but are not limited to, variations in planking, side planking, pushups, bridges and supermans. It is important that you breathe freely and deeply during each exercise and build up slowly to avoid injury.

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