The core is defined as the lumbo pelvic hip complex. The core is where the body’s center of gravity is located and where all movement begins. An efficient core is necessary for maintaining proper muscle balance throughout the entire kinetic chain. There are 29 muscles that attach to the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex which allow for efficient acceleration, deceleration, and stabilization during dynamic movements, as well as the prevention of possible injuries. Many individuals have developed strength, power, neuromuscular control and muscular endurance in the movement system, which enables them to perform functional activities. Few people, however, have properly developed the deep stabilization muscles required for lumbo-pelvic-hip complex stabilization. The body’s stabilization system (core) has to be operating with maximal efficiency to effectively use the strength, power, neuromuscular control, and muscular endurance developed in the prime movers.
With a society that has more physical structural imbalances and susceptibility to injury than ever before there needs to be a systematic progression to exercise. Many people work on building strong prime movers of the body (muscles responsible for movement) before working on building a strong foundation (muscles responsible for stabilization of the skeleton). If the movement system musculature of the core is strong and the stabilization system is weak, the kinetic chain senses imbalance and forces are not transferred or used properly. This leads to compensation and inefficient movement. The result is lack of stabilization and excessive motion of the individual vertebrae, which may result in low back pain and injury. Training the muscles of the movement system before training the muscles of the stabilization system would not make structural, biomechanical or logical sense. This would be analogous to building a house without a foundation. The foundation must be developed first to provide a stable platform for the remaining components of the house to be built on. One must be stable first to move efficiently.
The way to build a strong foundation is through training proprioception. This means introducing challenges to the balance and stabilization systems of the body with the goal of increasing the ability to stabilize joints and posture.
Solutions for stabilization
1. Drawing-in-maneuver – The action of pulling the belly button in toward the spine
2. Maintain the cervical spine in a neutral position during core training improves posture, muscle balance and stabilization.
3. The stabilization system of the core requires sustained contractions of between 6 and 20 seconds to properly stimulate motor units. These muscles must be trained for prolonged periods to increase endurance and allow for dynamic postural control.
Click below for some sample core stabilization exercises:
To improve core stabilization these exercises should be done with a slow tempo with 12 – 20 repetitions.
Rest 0 – 90 seconds in between exercises
Dr. Todd Rodman, DC CSCS