What does your “Core” do and why is it important?

What exactly comprises a good 'core' and what does it mean?

Everyone who comes to us says – “I want a better core, good core strength and more flexibility…..”

“A good or better core” – so what exactly does that mean? from our point of view is a very wide based statement that can be interpreted many ways – from your point of view – you want a strong centre and more movement – and don’t really know there’s different layers to all of that!

Your core is your centre.

Think of your core in simple terms as the power centre of the body - the keystone to your ability to function.

If that centre keystone is strong and functioning, then you can move freely from a stable base of support.

If that centre is weak or “switched off” which is what happens with inactivity or injury, then that stable base is lost and movement becomes harder as we try and recruit other muscles to help us stay ‘stable’ and function.

Learn to use your core properly

This is why many of us are over active through certain muscles such as the shoulders – those who carry a lot of tension in their shoulders – such as over activity in their traps. This may be due to a forward head posture, weak shoulder and shoulder blade muscles ( rotator cuff) and weak core muscles leaving the traps with more work to do to keep the head and body upright.

Others may have over active lower back muscles or upper abs – ( erector spinae/ quadratus lumborum/piriformis) – and again they will be working too hard so we will be getting a compressive effect on the lower back due to the exaggerated pull from these big moving muscles whilst they try and stabilise us – leading to pain in the lower back, across the buttocks and over the hip crest areas.

It takes a little work and know how to switch the core muscles back on – or even to know whether you are recruiting them and using the “right ones”. You need someone with specific specialist knowledge to guide you so you know you are activating the right muscles. This is why many people say Pilates doesn’t work – they have done a  Pilates DVD or gone to a large group class with little actual correction or knowledge being imparted. If you don’t know what you should be doing or how it should feel you will not be able to judge whether you’re doing it right or not!

Your core is your keystone of support - without it your body may fall apart. Learning how to… Click To Tweet

So in a nutshell – your core is the central base of support – your postural muscles - they should have low grade activity to keep you upright, moving well with minimal effort – if they function well they allow your big muscles of movement to perform to the best of their ability. YES – having a good core will lead to better times in a run/ better performance in sport and for day to day life and work . We will  function more efficiently and reduce load on our big muscles – so hopefully – carry less stress!

Find out what the core muscles are comprised of here

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About Saree Hewlett (135 Articles)
Saree has 20 + years as a physio, training in the UK and completing her Masters in Manual Therapy in Perth, UWA. She has integrated Pilates into her practise having trained in the Polestar method and currently owns and runs two Studios in Perth's Northern Suburbs. A previous international Artistic Skater she understands the needs of sports people and also those suffering from chronic pain and reduced function - we all want the same thing - to be the best we can be! She is married with two active young boys!

1 Comment on What does your “Core” do and why is it important?

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