Core Training Anatomy and Exercise

What is core anatomy?

Core anatomy refers to the body minus the legs and arms. The major muscle tissues involved in these core areas range from the muscles of the belly, mid plus lower back (external and internal obliques, tranversus abdominus, rectus abdominis, multifidus, erector spinae (sacrospinalis), longissimus thoracis, and the diaphragm. The minor muscles are distributed peripherally and include latissimus dorsi, gluteus maximus, medius plus minimus and trapezius.

What are the functions of the core?

The core has the function of stabilizing the thoracic cage and the pelvis during dynamic movements. An efficient core helps to maintain a normal length-tension relationship between the muscles of the core, maintains normal muscle mass force coupling and optimizes arthrokinematics. It also ensures optimal efficiency from the entire kinetic chain during movements, giving dynamic stabilization to acceleration and deceleration and proximal balance to movements of the extremities too.

It is also involved in providing internal pressure in the expulsion of substances from your abdominal cavity (passage of waste, air, and vomiting). Women employ the core muscles for work and delivery (especially the tranversus abdominus). A weak core musculature of the pelvic region can result in either urinary or fecal incontinence or both.
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In summary, the core muscles are needed for: –

Ø Pushing

Ø Lifting

Ø Excretion

Ø Birthing

The core is associated with most full-body functional movements, specially in sporting activities and it determines to a large extent, a person’s posture. The core muscle tissues align the pelvis, spine and ribs of an individual to resist a specific force, static or powerful.

What are the aims of core muscle training exercise?

The aims associated with core muscle training should include: –

v Spinal stabilization to ensure proper coordination and control of the backbone and effectively utilize or bring back strength, power, neuromuscular control plus endurance of the major core muscle tissues to control and protect the spine from injury.

v Facilitate plus balance muscular functioning of the entire kinetic chain.

v Enhance neuromuscular control and increase neuromuscular performance throughout the entire body and provide a more efficient body positioning during sporting activities and at rest.

Guidelines for Exercise Selection

The exercises should be such that will be safe, challenging, proprioceptively rich, assure stress in multiple planes, become activity specific, incorporate multi-sensory atmosphere and be progressively functional and continuous (i. e. slow to fast, simple to complex, low force in order to high force, static to dynamic, known to unknown etc)

Exercises: –

There are various types of exercises designed to train the core muscles and recommendations for selecting some of them has been given above. These exercises may include: –

· The McGill stability exercises

· Pilates exercises

· Swiss ball program

· Balance board

· Shoe training program

and many more, For the abdominal muscles like rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques, they can be trained using the abdominal hollowing technique. This involves the athlete lying down on his or her back in the fairly neutral position, he/she is instructed to unwind the muscles of the abdomen, bend the particular knees and while slowly exhaling, draw the lower abdomen inwards as if looking to push the belly button (umbilicus) towards the floor. This is a common workout known as zipping-up maneuver. This technique can be combined with other exercises involving the decrease extremities like straight leg lifts and knee to chest workouts. The athlete must always remember to start with the abdominal hollowing technique prior to adding limb movements exercises.

It is to be noted that abdominal exercises is surely an important part of any core training program, for example , it forms a major part of coordination and control exercises that are designed to help the body proprioceptive systems coordinate muscle control to prevent injury during movements or when colliding into external forces as is the case in certain sports (e. g. rughy).

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