Thursday, August 27, 2009

Core Strength Stabilizes The Spine

Stabilize your spine with adequate core strength. Stop thinking so much about your "6-pack abs" and work on the things that will make you a better athlete and protect you from injury! The strength of the "deep stabilizing core muscles" is critical to your athletic success....

The "deep stabilizing core muscles" are: transversus abdominis, multifidus, internal obliques, lumbar transversospinalis, pelvic floor and diaphragm.

If these deep muscles don't activate properly, your spine, pelvis and joint structures are placed in a position that will lead to injuries.



The transversus abdominis is the deepest layer of all abdominal muscles and it is considered your body's internal weight belt. When it contracts, it causes hoop tension around your mid section like a girdle. When the transversus abdominis is working properly, it contracts before the extremities (arms and legs) will move. Bracing your torso will activate the transversus abdominis (act like you are taking a punch to the gut).

When the spine is unstable, the central nervous system will not recruit the extremity muscles correctly. The extremity muscles assist with functional movement patterns. For example, if you bend over to lift a heavy load, your transverse abdominis needs to activate in order to stabilize your spine. When it doesn't activate and stabilize, you are at high risk for a low back injury.

When you make a habit of not recruiting the transversus abdominis to stabilize your spine, your joints will begin early degeneration.

The multifidus lies deep to the spine crossing over three joint segments. It works to provide joint stabilization at each segmental level. The vertebrae need stability to work correctly and reduce degeneration of joint structures.

The pelvic floor covers the area under the pelvis. The pelvic floor is critical for core stability.

Some exercises that improve strength in the "deep stabilizing core muscles" are planks, side planks, bridges and cobras.

Train hard and smart to succeed in your sport!

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Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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2 comments:

  1. Good post! Core stability is so integral to athletic movement, and you've hit on some good information!

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