One of the most commonly used phrases in fitness is to ‘strengthen your core’. I get asked about it all the time by our clients. Indeed, strengthening your core can help to stabilise and support your spine, build maximal gains in your strength, and help you power through advanced athletic movements.
It can also reduce the risk of lower-back pain and lower-back injury, as the muscles supporting the spine are stronger. To achieve a strong core, it involves working on several muscles, including your transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, internal obliques, lats, glutes, traps, multifidus and spinal erectors, amongst others. So, how do you build an ultimate core in an athlete or gym-goer?
It might seem as though this all starts in the gym, but actually the first thing to consider is what that person is doing during the other 23 hours in the day. How do they sit at their desk? What is their overall posture like and what weight are they carrying? What pressures is their spine under? How are they carrying out everyday motions, such as tying their shoe laces? How are they carrying their spine throughout this? These everyday activities can play a key role in building an ultimate core and avoiding a loaded spine to reduce pain.
Another thing to consider is the way in which each exercise is performed, rather than the actual exercises being done. If the movements are sloppy, they won’t have the results you want and could instead damage your spine. It is important that each movement comes from the right part of the body to get the power needed, without causing any damage. This is where a trained professional is able to help and guide you.