There are arguments for and against…..
First of all what is the core –
Very simply it is the section of your body from your hips to your armpits. Your centre of gravity is within your core, and your legs, arms and neck extend out from this core. While these “extensions” can provide you with mobility, strength, reach and some degree of flexibility, it is your body’s core muscles that provide the stability and internal strength for each movement. Core strength exercises address the muscle groups in this area.
Experts will differ on all of the muscles that make up your core but the following muscles are important to your core strength and fitness:
Rectus Abdominis – This group is located along the front of your stomach or abdomen. It is the most well-known abdominal muscle because it is commonly referred to as the “six-pack”.
External Obliques – These muscles are located on the side and front of the abdomen.
Internal Obliques – These muscles are located under the external obliques and run opposite to them.
Transverse Abdominis – This muscle is located under the obliques and is the deepest of the abdominal muscles. It wraps around your spine to provide protection and stability.
Hip Flexors – This is a group of muscles that are located in the front of the pelvis and upper thigh.
Gluteus maximus – This muscle group is located in the back of the hip and is even more famous than the rectus abdominis because it gives shape to your buttocks (butt).
Gluteus medius and minimus – These muscles are located at the side of the hip and help give shape to your buttocks.
Erector spinae – This is a group of three muscles that runs from your neck to your lower back.
Multifidus – These muscles are located under the erector spinae muscles along the vertebral column and help to extend and rotate the spine (shown in red in the right hand illustration, above)
Secondly, why is a strong core important –
As mentioned above, the muscles that make up your core are designed to provide your body with stability, balance, strength, and flexibility. Almost every movement you make will either originate from or be anchored by your core muscles. The core muscles are necessary to support the spine and your posture and are thereby essential in helping you to stand up, walk, etc. Furthermore, they are useful in helping to keep the internal organs in their proper place (where they are best able to function well) so that a good core is beneficial to digestion, for example. A strong core will help you not only in your sport but also in your everyday life.
The Core Problems -
In life in general, there are two major problems that adversely affect your body’s core. The first is a sedentary lifestyle. And as people age, they tend to spend more and more of their time sitting and being inactive. The more you sit the less your core has to do which weakens your core muscles.
The second problem is the alarming level, and the rate of growth, of obesity in western society. Of this increase in the body’s fat stores, the main area to be concerned with is belly or abdominal fat. Not only does this affect your cardiovascular health but it also places a huge strain on your core muscles. This strain causes them to become fatigued and inflexible so that when they are, for instance, placed in an awkward position they can no longer properly handle the stress. This typically leads to an injury.
The Argument FOR CS (Core Strength) training -
While a good weight management programme will help to reduce your fat stores it will not address the needs of your core muscles. Only an exercise programme designed to address these muscle groups will help strengthen your core.
There are many core strength exercises available to you to address this issue, and many ways of including core strengthening within exercises not specifically aimed at the core. The common method they use to strengthen the core is to create resistance or instability so that the core muscles have to engage and respond in order to maintain balance. Core strength exercises often imitate the moves we employ in our daily activities or sporting events. This helps to train the body to rely on the core while helping to reduce the strain we place on our limbs.
Having weak and unbalanced core muscles has been linked to lower back pain. Weak core muscles often result in a loss of the appropriate lumbar curve, whilst having a strong core can be a good support to your spine and back. Most people give all the credit for this support to the abdominal muscles. While they are critically important to creating the foundational strength your back needs, they are only a part of what makes up your core. Having a balanced programme of core strength exercises will help to engage all the muscles needed to help maintain appropriate posture and reduce the strain on your spine.
For the athlete, the muscles of the trunk and torso are critical for their performance because they stabilize the spine from their hips to their neck. These core muscles allow the athlete to transfer power and control to their arms and legs.
Developing a strong and stable core goes well beyond your looks. Having a “six pack” for your abdominal muscles does not necessarily mean that your core is in good shape. Learn to use core strength exercises to develop all of your core muscle groups. This will have a major beneficial effect on your lower back and will make your everyday physical activities a whole lot easier. Additionally, the use of proper core strength exercises can help to correct postural imbalances to protect you from injury. This functional fitness is important to both daily living and athletic performance.
Yoga is also an excellent way for individuals to build their core strength.
The argument AGAINST CS (Core Strength) training -
There are arguments against Core Strength training, but many of these tend to relate to people who have pre-existing conditions.
Continuous and abnormal patterns of use of the core muscles could be a source of potential damage for spinal or pelvic pain conditions. It is also known that when trunk muscles contract they exert a compressive force on the lumbar spine and that CLBP (chronic lower back pain) patients tend to increase their co-contraction force during movement. This results in further increases of spinal compression. Therefore if you suffer from a condition that could be aggravated by extra work on Core Strength you should consult a qualified personal fitness trainer in person before starting out on a core strength training regime.