Core Functioning Exercises: Part 1

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Built in Stabilisers
If we can appreciate that certain muscle groups have specific functions, then we can understand the function of the core muscles. Whilst the outer abdominal muscles’, that you can see, main objective is as prime movers that move the body, the deeper, core abdominals generally serve to stabilise. Milliseconds before the goalkeeper actually moves and launches them self to catch a ball, the deeper core muscles will fire in order to stabilise the spine and pelvis.

Lower Back Pain
The requirement for strong core and back muscles isn’t limited to sports . The same stabilisation is needed as we bend down to pick up something heavy. Without it there is undue force typically through the spine and the risk of injury increases. A common cause of lower back pain is weak or uncoordinated core muscles and great success can be achieved with some careful exercise programming.

Lower Abdominal Coordination
Try this exercise to see how your lower abdominals are functioning:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Place your hands under your lower back. They should be under the natural curve of your lower back, directly under your belly button. Position your spine so that it fits snug over your hands. This is ‘neutral spine’.
  3. Lightly, draw in your belly button to your spine. This engages the core. Ensure you lightly draw in from the pelvic floor as well.
  4. Now you have stabilised your neutral spine.
  5. Maintaining your right knee bent at 90degrees lift it up until your thigh is vertical. This is the start point of the movement.
  6. As you lower the leg breathe in.
  7. As you raise the leg breathe out.
  8. You should be able to maintain the pressure on your hands all the way through the movement.
  9. The knee should be kept at 90degrees all the way through the movement and you should be breathing with the abdominals.
  10. Perform up to 10 repetitions on each leg and build to 3 sets.

Try this over a week and let me know how you get on. The key is to be strict with your ability to maintain the pressure on your hands. When you can do this you are ready for the next level.

Functional Trainer & Corrective Exercise in Durham
This article was first published in The Journal

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