• Luke Morgan

Let's put core training at THE core of our training. pt 2.


From a back pain perspective, a strong & stable core can leave you less susceptible to injuries caused by awkward movements such as rotation and flexion (usually caused when in the presence of weak spinal stabilisers). The spine is made up of 33 vertebrae, each with a small amount of movement per vertebrae that when combined allow greater movement in forward flexion, side flexion, extension and rotation.

Strengthening the deeper spinal support muscles such as multifidus, transverse abdominus, rotares and such others, help to provide more stability to the structures. Note that by stability, I do not mean rigidity. Stability is the ability to control the structure through the joint range without unwanted movement, whereas rigidity is present where little to no movement exists. By creating a stable environment for the vertebrae, it enables the body to generate movement in flexion, extension and importantly- in rotation, with support to the vertebral bodies, which means there is a lesser chance of an intervertebral disk 'bulging' or 'herniating'. The stronger a structure is, the more resilient it is to an external force.

One of the greatest difficulties when beginning a core strengthening programme is the belief that it will all be crunches, sit-ups & planks, and this is largely because many people believe that 'the core' is essentially your abdominals, and abdominals are associated with completing the above exercises on a matt of some form doing strenuous jerky movements where your stomach feels like it's on fire for the next week, and when that's all you've got to look forward to, it's not very encouraging n'or is it exciting. The reality is, doing sit ups alone is a complete underuse of the core system. The core is designed for so much more than just sitting up, it is designed to stabilise the body as you walk, run, cycle, kick and throw and should therefore be trained that way. Do you think the guy in the orange vest above performed that movement just by performing his 100 sit-ups a day? No.

Studies have shown that people who partake in multidisciplinary core strength/ stability programmes such as Pilates and others have a reduction in back pain. To develop a stronger core system, integrate rotational movements with correct form whilst sustaining abdominal pressure within your workouts, lift things that are heavy for you, carry things above your head, and of course consult a healthcare professional before you start any strenuous exercise.

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