Back Health and Core Strength
March 3, 2015
Quote: “If I'd known I was going to live so long, I'd have taken better care of myself.” ~Leon Eldred
Task: Activate deep core muscles for 3-5 seconds every ½ hour or more often.
Core strengthening is one of the keys to preventing and managing low back pain. However, not all core exercises are created equal.
Incorporating core concepts into your exercise routine should not be limited to performing crunches on an exercise mat. The muscle areas addressed with a simple crunch exercise are typically non-functional for daily task performance.
The key area of confusion surrounding core training lies in the variable definitions of what “core strength” really entails.
Listed as number 5 on the American Council of Sport Medicine’s 2009 Fitness Trends Survey, core training involves conditioning the stabilizing muscles of the trunk. Specifically, core stability training targets the muscles of the pelvis, lower back, hips, and abdomen to ultimately increase the structural support of the spine. The core stabilizing unit is essential to providing the base of strength needed to further engage muscles in the upper and lower extremities.
Our ability to generate strength and power with our limbs depends on the stability of our core foundation. One way to activate the deep core muscles is to think about gently pulling your belly button away from the waist band of your pants without changing your erect posture.
Core training is diverse and often utilizes total body exercises performed on variable surface types. The fundamental principle with core training is “stability with movement” and the ability to maintain a “neutral” spine. As a result, posture, strength, and mobility of the surrounding muscles and joints are essential.
McGill, S. (2002). Low Back Disorders: evidence-based prevention and rehabilitation. Human Kinetics; Windsor, ON.
Jemmett, R. (2003). Spinal Stabilization: The New Science of Back Pain, 2nd ed. Novont Health Publishing; Halifax, NS.
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