What is core fitness?

Your core is an intricate series of muscles which extends far beyond your abs. Your core includes everything besides your arms and legs. This part of your body is incorporated in almost every movement of the human body.

Core fitness is about the balanced development of the deep and superficial muscles that stabilise, align as well as move the trunk of your body, especially the abdominals and muscles of the back. Core and abdominal conditioning have become equal in recent years however the abdominal muscles by themselves are over-rated when it comes to true core strength or conditioning.

The benefits of core fitness are:

  • More functional workouts which translate into day-to-day life activities
  • Improved performance in sports
  • Reduced risk of injury
  • Better  ability to perform daily functions

In actual fact, the muscles of the abdomen perform very limited and specific actions. The core really consists of many different muscles that stabilise the spine and pelvis and run the entire length of the torso. These muscles are responsible for stabilising the e spine, pelvis and shoulders and provide a solid foundation for movement in the extremities.

Core conditioning exercise programmes need to target all these muscle groups in order to be effective. The core muscles make it possible for you to stand upright and move on two feet. These muscles help to:

  • Control movements, 
  • Transfer energy, 
  • Shift body weight, as well as  
  • Move in any direction.

A strong core distributes the stresses of weight-bearing and protects the back.

What muscles make up the core?

Your abdominal muscles are situated on the front of your body between your pelvis and ribs and some muscles from your back. These muscles combine to make up your core.

Some of the names of the core muscles are as follows:

  • Quadratus lumborum
  • Rectus abdominis
  • Erector spinae
  • Multifidus
  • External obliques
  • Internal obliques
  • Transverse abdominis
  • Hip flexors
  • Gluteus Medius and minimums
  • Gluteus maximum, hamstring group and piriformis

Why is core training necessary?

Core training is essential for everybody as it helps to build back strength which can help to reduce and prevent lower back pain. However, most individuals do not know the best way to train their core correctly. This means that it is vital to know and understand the basics of core training so that you can create a core training routine that meets your own fitness and health needs and does not cause you any injuries or serious health problems. 

The overall importance of core training is related to four key factors:

  • Posture
  • Power
  • Agility
  • Stability

This is because core training helps to improve your posture and stability by strengthening your core muscles which can also help to improve your overall balance.

The reason behind core exercises is to train the many large and small muscles which help control and stabilise the spinal column and pelvis with a view to:

  • Building endurance and strength and 
  • Being better able to control the spine and pelvis when forces are applied to it in the course of day-to-day activities and physical activities. 

Core exercises can and should be included in every workout. This can be achieved by performing as many exercises as possible while having your spine and pelvis not supported by a bench or seat. This will necessitate that the core muscles engage in stabilising the body.


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