Core development is essential to life. It takes a strong core to support our body as we move throughout our day or to perform in sport. There are often movement difficulties and risk of injury when the muscles along the spine are weak. Our core is our center and the foundation from which our limbs can move. It is more than just having 6 pack abs. The major muscles are the pelvic floor muscles, transversus abdominis, internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis, erector spinae, and the diaphragm. That's a lot and that is not even all of them!
Being able to plank for an hour and do 100 sit ups in 10 minutes does not necessarily mean you have a strong core. I grew up with sit ups being my go to exercise and when I found out it was actually doing more damage than good, I was shocked. Crunches and sit ups require flexion of the spine. For many of us, this type of training leads to sore lower backs and bad posture.
University of Waterloo kinesiology professor Stuart McGill is one of the world's experts on spine biomechanics. He discusses myths about back injury, exercise, proper lifting, and strengthening the core. His research on repeated flexion showed that crunches are not the best exercises to strengthen the core. If sitting all day is part of your job, this can make matters even worse.
The core can be trained to act as a strong, functional unit to connect segments of the body together. This creates a stable environment for force to be produced out of the legs and arms. The stronger the core, the more force produced!
Below are some of my favorite core exercises...
1. Bird Dog
2. Body Saw
3. Turkish Get Up
4. Anti Rotation