First of all, what is the core? In my view, the core is the central part of your body that stabilises your trunk while the arms and legs move during any intense activity. It mostly consists of muscles of the pelvic floor, intersegmental muscles of the spine and a few muscle deep within the trunk. Oh and lets not forget the diaphragm muscle, which is the roof of the core muscular system.
Check out the importance of diaphragmatic breathing here:
When the core is optimised, movements of the spine, respiration, hip, shoulder, and torso are more efficient and stabilised. It plays a critical role by taking off the pressure from your spine and transferring the force from the upper to the lower parts of your body and vice versa. Again, to provide a stable base, the muscles have to work together, enabling the arms and legs to move in a coordinated way mechanically. Without core stability, this coordination is unachievable, making an athlete susceptible to injuries, especially to the lower limbs.
Importance of The Core in Preventing Injuries
Core strengthening is perhaps one thing you should be doing to help prevent or support your spine (if you have an injury history in a certain area). The stronger the abdominal muscles, the easier they can withstand pressure, especially on your knees and hips. Experts say firming up the core is the best way to prevent back strains and injuries due to an excessive load coupled with bad mechanics.
Meanwhile, a strong core enables all the muscle groups in the torso, hips, and shoulder to work in sync, without any of them putting a strain upon one another. An excellent respiratory function can also be achieved my efficient core stability. On the contrary, the core’s rapid fatigue is a factor in those lower back pains. It could also be why you have dysfunctional ankles and knee issues, which can compromise your performance as an athlete.
Why You Also Should Strengthen Deep Core Muscles
Some of the typical body motions such as bending forwards, excessive rotating, and side-to-side movement can cause spine issues. But the deep core muscles, which offer central stability to your spine and pelvis, also acts as an essential protective shield.
Thus, before any other muscles, you must first isolate and strengthen these, as they have a considerable effect on the pelvic floor muscles, the deep stomach muscles, and the deep back muscles. Once you are through with part of the muscle buildup, you can handle the larger superficial core muscles, which play a critical role in core stability. Their work is to ensure the core moves in a more coordinated way.
Training and Firming Up the Core
The only way to have a stronger core is to train and strengthen it over time. This will help prevent injuries to the lower limbs, such as the ankles and the knees. While you may want to target only specific muscles, remember each of these muscle groups is crucial for core stability. One more thing, the core muscles are essential for endurance. So, it would be good to work on this over a longer period of time and not a short training phase. Try and add some of these exercises to your warm up time at the gym, or before a run.Read more