If you think a six-pack is the most important part of your core, you’d be wrong. The core muscles are one of the most significant muscle groups in your body and weak core muscles can impact a lot more than just giving you a less-than-toned stomach; from holding you up straight, supporting your hips and supporting most movements you and your body make, including balance and stability – the core muscles should not be overlooked.
The muscles in your core – that’s the torso – really do underpin pretty much everything you do. Here’s how they do it:
The Core Muscles Explained
The muscles in your core are a lot more complex than they may first seem. Yes, the ‘six pack’ forms part of them, but they’ve actually got a lot more going on than just washboard abs. There’s the upper abs, the obliques (the sides) and then a deep layer of muscles which are responsible for a lot more than looking good on the beach.
So, their fancy -albeit slight Harry Potter sounding- names are Transverse Abdominis (a muscle layer of the anterior and lateral abdominal wall [front and side]), Internal and External Obliques, Rectus Abdominis and Multifidus. There are others that form the significant make-up of the core but as we said, the core can impact everything so we could be here for a while listing them.
The Transverse Abdominis (TA) is the deepest abdominal muscles and also wraps itself around the spine for stability. These are the hardest to work on but if you can include exercises that tap into the TA muscles, you’ll see huge gains in the core muscles and how effective they can be to your overall structure.
How the Core Muscles Impact the Back
One of the biggest things we come across as physical therapists is back pain and a weak core can be contributing to a bad back. Essentially, the abdominals help to anchor the spine, and if they’re weak other areas (the back) would have to work harder.
As the name suggests, the core muscles are at the core of your muscular network and if either of them are weak, they can be impacting the other. As the muscles fail to do their job properly, for example, if the abdominal muscles fail to hold your core upright, the back will also relax and not stabilise the postural muscles properly. Or, if the back isn’t arched properly, or over arched, it can cause the pelvis to tilt – and as the core muscles connect to the pelvis muscles, this can impact them too. An over-arched back, also known as a sway back, can be the result of weakened core muscles.
The best thing to do is to strengthen the core muscles so they can support the spine properly and positively impact the postural alignment. So, if you invest time in strengthening the core muscles, you’ll also see improvements in your weak back muscles and poor posture.
Physical Therapy and Core Muscles
If you’ve got a weak core and back, we can help get you back to your optimum health. Sit-ups are not going to strengthen the muscles like you need to, you’ll need to invest some time into thorough physical rehabilitation to get these fundamental muscle groups up and working properly.
If you do, you’ll see reduced back pain, improved posture, increased mobility and flexibility and significant improvements in your overall structure.
Book your session now to start your journey to a fully functioning body.