What is “Core Stabilty”?
This is a question that so many people will give you a different answer to. No one is really right or wrong. But what is important is that you work from a solid foundation of understanding about how the human neuromuscular skeletal system works. It is also very helpful to have a framework and exercise classification system to use when approaching rehabilitation and athletic performance.
I consider the “core” to have the following functions:
- Connect the lower to the upper body and ensure an efficient transfer of energy
- Provide the link between big powerful muscles to ensure they can work together in a coordinated fashion
- Keep the pelvis, spine and scapulas in the desired position during movements to protect connective tissue structures
So this is also how I define “core stability” – The neuromuscular systems ability to perform the above 3 functions.
If these are the functions, then these are the main muscle groups involved working from the ground up. I never like to define core by the muscles because muscles never work in isolation and core must be trained through mostly functional movements rather than just training a muscle. It is helpful however to have a good awareness of the main muscles involved:
- Deep external rotators of the hip
- Lateral hip stabilisers (Glute min and med)
- Glute max
- Erector spinae
- Quadratus lumborum
- Transversus Abdominis
- External and Internal Obliques
- Rectus Abdominis
- Serratus Anterior
- Lower Trapezius
- Levator scapulae
- Upper trapezius
This is the exercise classification system I use. I have been practicing as a sports physio and strength and conditioning coach for a long time and have found this as the most beneficial way to approach your core stability exercises
- Trunk Endurance
Exercises that require holding a desired position for a long period of time. These exercises train the ability of the muscles to work for a long period which is very important for both the general population and athletes.
- Through range core exercises
- Trunk Endurance
Exercises that involve training the physiological movements of the spine and hips
- Single leg stability exercises
Exercises that involve improving the ability of the muscles to stabilize the pelvis and spine when on one leg
- Scapular stability
Exercises that involve being able to both hold the scapula in a desired position under load and move the scapula with the desired rhythm in relation to glenohumeral movement.