What is Core Strengthening?
Core strengthening is the “BUZZ” word going around at the moment. Everyone is talking about it, Everybody is doing it, and Everybody is teaching it ! But what are they talking about? what are they doing? and most importantly What are they teaching?
Your main Core muscles are your deep Core Muscles
- your deepest abdominal muscles (Transversus Abdominus or TABs and your Oblique Abdominal muscles),
- your pelvic floor muscles,
- your deep back muscles (Multividus)
- your Hip Extensor (Gluteus Maximus)supporting your pelvis
- your Rotator Cuff muscles around the shoulders
- Deep Neck Flexors
These are the main Core Muscles and any core strengthening program MUST target these muscles first before targeting the more superficial Core muscles such as
- The Rectus Abdominus or “6 Pack Muscle”,
- The Gluteus Medius and Minmus
- The outer back muscles or Erector Spinae
Unfortunately, as I said everyone is teaching core. There are no governing bodies ensuring Core Strengthening is taught properly, and many people teaching them have just been shown by someone else how to do them and then go back and try to teach them to their own club members with no proper training.
When people present in our clinic and tell us they are doing core, we usually get them to show us what they are doing, invariably they will be doing Planks, Sit Ups, Russian Twists, Prone Back Extensions etc, and invariably they will NOT be using their deep Core muscles, but will be using their Superficial Core muscles.
Rectus Abdominus – the superficial Core Muscle actually INHIBITS the Transversus Abdominus – the deep Core muscle, so in actual fact they may be doing more harm than good.
We a liken this type of core training to trying to support a wall on a house with scaffolding, but building the scaffolding about 10cm away from the wall, so the wall can still move, the bricks can shear and ultimately the wall may crumble. Similarly if the deep Core muscles are not supporting the spine the joints can shear and become damaged, and the proven benefits of Deep Core Strengthening will not be obtained.
As all our Pilates Instructors and Core Strengthening and Strength and Conditioning Coaches are first and foremost Chartered Physiotherapists, you can be guaranteed that Deep Core Strengthening will be taught correctly in our clinic.
As Chartered Physiotherapists we are trained to palpate muscles as you work them to ensure that the correct muscles are working, and that you are not over working inhibitory muscles.