We have all probably been told or overheard someone being told to “bring their belly button toward their spine” or that sit-ups are the best way to develop your core muscles. There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to core training, especially when it comes to those who suffer from low back pain.
Before we discuss the best way to protect and strengthen the core, it’s important to understand the muscles that make up this part of our body. Your core muscles go well beyond the rectus abdominus (the “6-pack muscle) and the external and internal obliques. The muscles that make up the core work synergistically (or together) to stiffen the core, providing a stable base that allows our upper and lower body to move effectively.
There are a number of muscles that work together in and around your midsection, making up your core: the traverse abdominis, the internal and external obliques, the rectus abdominis, the multifidus, the erector spinae, and the quadratus lumborum. You can see the placement of the muscles and the way they work together in Figure 1. Together, these muscles play a pivotal role in stiffening, moving, and rotating your core.
Learning to engage the core muscles to move efficiently and move well are key components of both rehabilitation and improving athletic ability as well as everyday movement patterns (such as squatting, hip hinging and overhead reaching).
If you’re looking for where or how to start engaging your core to move and perform better, look no further than your local New York physical therapist. Come into our Glendale, Kew Gardens or Manhasset office to get started today.