Core Strengthening

basiccoreThe core comprises much more than just the abs. The core includes all the deep and superficial muscles used to stabilize, align, and move the trunk of the body as well as the pelvis and hips. The core is where the body’s center of gravity is located, and is the root source of all body movement.coregraph

 

The goal of a sound core training program is to stabilize the core and work and build muscle endurance. This will help keep the spine protected and the deep muscles of the core better prepared for the demands your daily life will put on your body.

Your core program needs to be well designed. The diagram on this page shows how much compression is put on the lower back with different types of core training exercises. Many common exercises exceed what has been determined to be the “safe limit” of lower back compression. Repetitions of these exercises carry a very high risk of lower back injury, especially to the discs, and should be avoided by most people.

 

 

Basic Core Stabilization

This routine is based on research by Stuart McGill, PhD to stabilize the core while minimizing forces on the lower back in order to decrease the risk of injury. The initial challenge presented by each exercise may or may not be appropriate for every individual. These are not he only exercises that can help stabilize your core, but they are a great place to start for most people. (If more challenge or progression is needed, please see the Advanced Core section)

The Routine

Sets and Reps

Start with 1 set of about 6-8 reps. Progress to 1 set of 15. Further progress following the reverse pyramid approach of adding a 2nd set of 12 reps then a 3rd set of 8 reps.

Hold Times

Hold for one or two breaths (6-10 seconds) to emphasize endurance.

Form

Movements should be performed slowly with good form for motor control training and injury prevention.

Frequency

Daily or twice daily to improve motor control.

Duration

Up to 3 months required to reeducate movement patterns in chronic patients.

Tips

  • Always warm up before performing core exercises.
  • Sacrificing quality of the movement for quantity is a good way to cause injury.
  • The spine should be neutral during these movements.
  • Normal respiration should be maintained (avoid holding breath or timing exertion with exhalation).
  • Brace the abdomen to keep spine reasonably stiff.
  • Muscle endurance, as opposed to strength, has been shown to be protective against future back troubles.

catcamel curlup  birddogsidebridge

 

Advanced Core Stabilization

The Routine

Sets and Reps

Start with 1 set of about 6-8 reps. Progress to 1 set of 15. Further progress following the reverse pyramid approach of adding a 2nd set of 12 reps then a 3rd set of 8 reps.

Hold Times

Hold for one or two breaths (6-10 seconds) to emphasize endurance.

Form

Movements should be performed slowly with good form for motor control training and injury prevention.

Frequency

Daily or twice daily to improve motor control.

Duration

Up to 3 months required to reeducate movement patterns in chronic patients.

Tips

  • Always warm up before performing core exercises.
  • Sacrificing quality of the movement for quantity is a good way to cause injury.
  • The spine should be neutral during these movements.
  • Normal respiration should be maintained (avoid holding breath or timing exertion with exhalation).
  • Brace the abdomen to keep spine reasonably stiff.
  • Muscle endurance, as opposed to strength, has been shown to be protective against future back troubles.

advancedcurlupadvancedbirddog advancedsidebridge

 

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