If you search the internet for “core training” you get tons of articles on workouts that will give you six pack abs and a chiseled middle but what many of the articles fail to address is that there is a difference between core training and core strengthening. The definition of training is: a process by which someone is taught the skills that are needed for an art, profession, or job. With this in mind it makes since to separate training and strengthening because it is not possible to strengthen a skill you do not have. In order to strengthen core muscles one needs to be aware of all the muscles to be used, when to use them, and why to use them. Knowing how to stabilize, mobilize, and move dynamically with the orchestra of muscles is the essence of a truly balanced and accessible core.
Learning a few self assessment tools can help you map out what training is best. The core muscles keep our organs from falling out between our legs. Core muscles flex our spine forward, rotate our torso left and right, extend the spine backwards, as well as side bend left and right.
Evaluate each of the above mentioned movement an answer the following questions:
- Do you rotated equally in both directions?
- Can you touch your knees to your chin, nose, or forehead?
- If your arms are straight by your side does your fingertips land about the same distance down your leg when you side-bend?
- Can you extend your thoracic spine (ribcage area) backwards without losing balance.
- Can you lift your sphinter muscles (urethra, vagina, and anus) into your body like a rebounding trampoline and hold the comtraction for 10-20secs.
If you answered no to any of the above items then you may not be accessing your core muscles completely. There may be a neurological pathway that needs to be connected or a muscle may need to be released before you can use your core to it maximum potential.