When it comes to needing strength in your abdominal muscles everyone out there from Yoga Instructors, to Physical Therapist, to Personal Trainers and even Mds will tell you that you have to strengthen your core muscles. What exactly does this mean and do these professionals have a complete understanding of what muscles make up the core?
We have been told over and over again that the in order to get a stronger core you need to do sit ups and crunches, this information isn’t false but it is missing other valuable information. The core as we know it and how it has been taught to us is that it is just made up of your abdominal muscles. This is not true. Did you know that when it comes to core stability you have two systems that are made up of groups of muscles… these two systems are the inner unit and the outer unit.
The inner unit which provides segmental stabilization is made up your diaphragm, pelvic floor muscles, multifidus and the transverse abdominus. The outer unit is made up of 4 other muscular systems sometimes described as slings and they are…The Deep Longitudinal System (DLS), Anterior Oblique System, Posterior Oblique System and the Lateral System. Each of these systems is then made up of groups of muscles that provide us not only with stabilization but also become prime movers.
Deep Longitudinal System: erector muscles of the spine, bicep femoris (hamstring muscle) and the peroneus longus muscle of the foot.
Anterior Oblique System: Internal Oblique and contra-lateral external oblique and the contra-lateral adductor muscles (muscles of the inner thigh).
Posterior Oblique System: Latissimus dorsi and contra-lateral glut maximus
Lateral System (fig 4): Glut medius and minimus, ipsilateral (same side) adductors and contra-lateral Quadratus Lumborum
For some of you reading this, this may all sound foreign and a little over your head. The point that I am trying to make is that when it comes to core stability and strength there are other muscular systems that need to strengthened and strengthened appropriately. If you are someone who suffers from low back pain and have been given sit ups and crunches as exercises with no results you many want to find someone who understands these systems that I have written about. Your body is a chain, a set of systems that are dependent upon one another and just as you can’t spot reduce for weight loss you can’t spot fix either.
If you would like to learn more about the inner and outer units I recommend reading Paul Chek’s book How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy. You can also search for CHEK Practitioners in your area, CHEK practitioners have been educated on the systems above that I have spoke about and are taught to treat the person not just their parts.
Lori Metroka Yu
Nutrition & Wellness Specialist
Picture by http://www.coachr.org/outer_4.jpg
Personal training Los Gatos, Nutrition Coaching San Francisco, Chek Practitioner Los Gatos, Chek Practitioner San Francisco, Core strengthening, muscles of the core, how to exercise the core correctly, exercising the core correctly, core exercises, exercise tips for the core