What is core strength?
Many people believe core strength equates to strong abdominal’s or six pack abs, but our core strength is made up of much more than just abdominal muscles. So what exactly makes up our core strength?
Muscles that make up your core strength…
Your core muscles not only include the abdominal muscles, but is also made up of: the upper and lower back muscles, the hip/pelvic muscles, the rib muscles, and the diaphragm. Think of your core muscles as the central link connecting the legs and arms together to perform coordinated and athletic movements.
The core muscles generate power and strength in the body. Core strength assists with vital functions of the body including: improved breathing, better balance, decreased chance of low back pain, and better posture. According to Harvard Health, 4 out of 5 people will be affected by back pain at some point in their life. Having weak core muscles puts significantly more stress on the spine and discs in the low back, which increases the chance of injury.
The core muscles are also important for proper breathing to increase oxygen delivery to tissues. By engaging the diaphragm when breathing it help decrease fatigue while exercising, and has been shown to help decrease anxiety and stress. Another benefit of strong core muscles is improving balance and posture. This is critically important as you get older since falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal incidents for older Americans, according to the National Council of Aging.
When exercising remember to work out all of the core muscles and not just focus on the abdominal muscles. Only focusing on abdominal muscles strength can create imbalances within the core muscles, which may result in increased risk of injury. If you are looking for the six pack abs look, then my recommendation would be to make diet a priority.