What is the “core” anyway?

Asian young woman exercising on a fitness ball.

The word core has been around for quite a while and has become a hot topic in the fitness world as it should be. However, there seems to be some misunderstanding on what the core truly is.

Many think the core is the abdominals and some even think the low back but only half of that is true.

The core consists of 4 parts:

  • The diaphragm
  • The transverse abdominis
  • The multifidus
  • The pelvic floor

In fact the pelvic floor is the foundation of the core – who knew!

We call this the core 4 and when you have a properly functioning core, it anticipates your move and contracts nano-seconds before movement to support you from the inside out.

Think of the core of an apple. It is integral at keeping everything together. If even one part of the core isn’t working properly and doing it’s job, other parts will kick in to pick up the slack.

And what’s happens as a result? Core dysfunction.

Core dysfunction can mean many things. It can mean hip pain, back pain, pelvic pain, incontinence, prolapse; and these are only a few.

As we age, become parents, sit more, move less and “enjoy” our lives, our core is becoming less and less functional and this is why we notice it more as we get older because (of course) hormones also have say.

So to be clear…a strong “core” isn’t about  creating six pack because that’s superficial and doesn’t address what is going on, on the inside. A strong core is anticipatory, supportive and can withstand the loads that we throw at it on a daily basis – even without exercise.

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