Core stability training is different from training your abs. Abs are great, they’re sought after, look good and complete that beach body physique that many people desire. However, they’re even better if they’re part of a functional core.
So what is the core?
The core has functional movement in all three planes of motion, however mainly acts as a stabilizer and a centre for force transfer rather than a prime mover.
The core is commonly known to be the body’s torso as a large proportion of the major contributing muscles is found there. However, muscles that attach to the axial skeleton and pelvis are also part of the core. The front part consists of 4 layers: External oblique, rectus abdominis, internal oblique and the transverse abdominis.
The rectus abdominis and external oblique are the more superficial muscles of the core (“Six pack”), making up the outer layer. The internal oblique and the transverse abdominis make up the deeper inner layer. Other mentions are the diaphragm and pelvic floor muscles that help to control intraabdominal pressure along with the transversus abdominis to support and protect the spine. This is especially useful when doing big lifts such as the squat and deadlift.
It is important to note that, the core is a complex region and the above information looks at it in a simple way for training purposes.
How do you train it?
When it comes to training the core it is important to think about what is actually trying to be achieved. As the core’s main function is that of a stabilizer, and the ability to transfer force through the body effectively; exercises should be based around this concept and tailored to individual weaknesses.
Typical moves such as the deadlift and squat, achieve a high level of core activation as they work through stabilizing the spine. However, the core should also be trained specifically through a range of exercises, to work on weak points and introduce complexity as a tool for progression.
Core stabilization falls into three main categories. These are anti-extension, anti-rotation and anti-lateral flexion.
Anti-extension – The plank, dead-bugs
Anti-rotation – Pallof press, Renegade rows
Anti-lateral flexion – Suitcase carries, suitcase deadlifts
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