What hell is ‘the core’ anyway?

outer-core-abdominal-muscles 

The core. What does it mean? It’s a word that gets bounded about with little meaning or explanation. What are muscles involved? How can they help with performance? Where are the muscles located? How do they work mechanically? The core, or the midsection of your body, entails so much more than getting a sculpted six-pack and looking like an Adonis.

The core – how it helps running performance

Firstly, let’s ditch the word ‘core’ for a moment and replace it with ‘midsection’. After all, your body’s midsection is your adnominal muscles, both deep and superficial, as well as your oblique muscles.

A strong midsection is crucial for power transfer to your arms and legs as it helps maintain proper posture, leading to improved efficiency and for the runners, improved run economy. A strong midsection helps facilitate better performance through your hip flexor muscle group.

However, improving strength through your midsection requires more than copious amounts of sit-ups. A high proportion of people perform sit-ups incorrectly. Think about the angle of your spine, the angle where your ischial tuberosity (the pair of sitting bones) and foot/knee placement of a sit-up. If your spine, feet and knee joints aren’t positioned correctly, chances are all a sit-up will do is build your quad muscles and skip the midsection. Great if you’re after strong quads but not so great if you’re trying to improve power through the mid.

Moreover, while abdominal exercises, like crunches and sit-ups, work the front of your stomach (the rectus abdominis), they only reach a small percentage of muscle groups in your midsection. Go beyond the ‘abs’ and you’ll find that the midsection includes muscles in the lumbar region of your lower back, hips and pelvic region.

How to improve your midsection/core

You can actually tone your midsection while doing everything from running, sitting straight at work or even driving a car – it’s about keeping the area activated.

To improve your core, email me for more.

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