Salvere Blog: Getting to the Core of the “Core”

by Salvere Health and Fitness

Frequently a client will come to us and say “I want to work on my core.” What exactly does this mean and what areas count as “core?” When you hear the term core, what does that mean to you? Is the core the same for a soccer player as it is for a basketball player or an older person struggling with balance?apple core

You see this buzz word in a title for an exercise classes, you might read about it in a magazine or even hear that recommendation from a medical professional. Most people equate the word “core” to mean the abdominal area and immediately think crunches. The truth of the matter is core means different things to all of us.

If you play soccer, the core could include the hips and legs. If you play tennis, the core could include the shoulders and arms. If you are around small children that need to be picked up and carried, the core could include the hips, back and midsection.

Core exercises generally work the muscles that stabilize the spine, pelvic area and shoulder girdle. These muscles need to be able to do their job in isolation and also work in conjunction with each other to transfer movement to the extremities. For example, the plank allows the torso to work in isolation and you can feel your abdominals contract. Now, can you use those muscles in a similar way when you squat down to pick up a heavy box off the floor?

The upper and lower body work in conjunction throughout all movement. Recall that old statement, “You’re only as strong as your weakest link?” Think of the muscles running from the shoulder through the hip as a chain where each link connects to the other. If one link is missing or “not working”, it impacts how the rest of the chain moves. In order to get things moving smoothly again, the weak link must be corrected.

When looking to train your “core”, find someone to assess your specific movements and mechanics. Start with a program that focuses on your weak link(s) and getting stronger. Also, create a program that provides exercises specific to your activity, whether it is for sport or everyday life.

Incorporate multi direction movements in your program and progress the exercises as your program moves forward and you build strength. Train your muscle to help you maintain proper posture and contribute to your gait (walking) patterns. Remember, core training includes many movements — Incorporate movements for isolation and exercises with multiple pieces. Think outside the box and beyond just what hurts and focus on getting your whole body stronger.

by Lisa Martin, owner and personal trainer at Salvere Health and Fitness. If you’d like to contact Lisa, email her at Lisa@SalvereHealthAndFitness.com or call her at (410) 707-0055.

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