Core Stabilization

The "core" is a region bounded by the abdominal wall, the pelvic floor, the muscles and skeleton of the lower back and the diaphragm. When functioning optimally, the core is able to stabilize the body during movement. The main muscles involved include the transversus abdominus, the internal and external obliques, the quadratus lumborum, the multifidi and other small, segmental muslces of the back, the muslces of the pelvic floor and the respiratory diaphragm. It is the action of these muscles contracting together upon the incompressible contents of the abdominal cavity (i.e. the internal organs or viscera) that provides support to the spine and pelvis during movement. Whenever a person moves to lift something or simply to move from one position to another, the core region is tensed first. This tension is usually made unconsciously and in conjunction with a change in breathing pattern. An example to try is to sit in a chair and to reach forward over a table to pick up a cup. This movement is first accompanied by a tension in the core region of the abdomen and can be felt by placing one hand on the abdomen as the movement is made. As the load increases the key muscles contract around the viscera, which are incompressible, to form a stable ball-like core region against which the forces are balanced in coordination with posture. In martial arts there is a saying that 'power is generated from the ground up' and core stability is necessary for the transfer of force and power from the ground across the body into any movement. Core stability is essential for the maintenance of an upright posture and especially for movements and lifts that require extra effort such as lifting a heavy weight from the ground to a table. Without core stability the lower back is not supported from inside and can be injured by strain caused by the exercise. Insufficient core stability in the human can result in lower back pain, poor posture and lethargy. For additional information about core stabilization please contact CORE Services, Inc. at 314-647-4880.