What exactly is your “CORE”?

A while ago, I wrote the “Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers” Blog (see below) based upon core strength and I realized that I have not clearly defined what your “core” really entails.
In physical fitness, the term “core” is often equated with “abs” or abdominal conditioning. Making your “core” synonymous with “abs” is drastically insufficient.  Your core strength entails much more than just your abdominal muscles.
First, let’s understand the significance of your core.  Constructing any new building requires a solid foundation before you can erect any walls.  A house framed on dirt would not survive inclimate weather, erosion of the ground or natural settling of the earth.  The structure would ultimately collapse.  The same holds true for the development of our bodies without properly and continuously developing our core strength.  Yet, most people approach their fitness programs entirely focused on their arms, legs, cardio and/or body fat.  This approach is the same as framing a house on dirt.  It won’t last as long as if you properly develop your core first.
Second, let’s understand the elements of your core.  You essentially have an inner core and an outer core.
Your inner core begins with your spinal column.  The average number of vertebrae in the human spine is 33.  Vertebrae are stacked one on top of the other with a bundle of nerves (spinal cord) running through the middle.  Picture those 33 vertebrae as if they were tea-cups stacked upon one another.  Imagine trying to walk with a stack of 33 tea-cups in your hand. How far could you get before the entire stack falls and shatters on the ground?  Obviously – not very far.
So…what keeps the 33 vertebrae in your spine from toppling over? You might think the spinal cord inside the vertebrae provides some support. However, your nerves and spinal cord are designed to be entirely flexible and pliable, therefore, they provide very little support to your vertebral column. Your spine stays erect due to the support provide by muscles which run laterally and connect or “cinch” the vertebrae together.  These same muscles are also responsible for all the movements of our spine – forward flexion, back extension, lateral flexion and rotation.  The motions are rarely isolated.  Tying your shoe requires you to flex your spine forward and, at the same time, rotate slightly to either side.
Your outer core includes the muscles of your abdomen as well as your back. Just to list a few of the primary core muscles – rectus abdominis, internal/external obliques, transverse abdominis, erector spinae, latissimis dorsi, trapezius, serratus posterior/anterior, rhomboids and many other stabilizing muscles, tendons and fascia.
Imagine a woven basket; say the type of basket made by the Native Americans. Imagine that basket being used to carry fish.  As the basket is filled, the weight of the fish pushes out against the inner walls of the basket. But the design of the basket allows the weaves to work against each other to keep the fish securely contained thereby minimizing any shifting. The same is true for the outer core muscles. They work against each other to contain the contents of our abdomen (intestines and all other organs). Tighter core muscles secure our innards and minimize any shifting. The outer core muscles also contribute significantly to our upward support against the gravitational force weighing down upon us.
As you can see, our core involves much more than just abdominal strength.  For conditioning ideas to strengthen your core, feel free to visit my web site: www.suckitupfitness.com.

Core Training | Core Exercises | Ab Exercises | Core Workouts

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