Monday, November 14, 2022
When most people hear “core,” they immediately think about six-pack abs and the ‘V’ shape cut. Then they picture themselves doing crunches and Russian twists until they can’t move anymore. But the core involves so much more.
A six-pack may be aesthetically appealing to many, but it doesn’t mean someone has a strong and functional core; it just means they have a low body fat percentage. This explains why you may see someone with a six-pack who’s never entered a gym, while some of the strongest athletes in the world don’t have visible muscle definition in their mid-sections.
The core is made up of many more muscles than just your rectus abdominis (six-pack): the transverse abdominis, inner and outer obliques, multifidus, erector spinae, diaphragm, and the pelvic floor muscles. All these muscles work together to perform the two main activities of the core: stabilizing the spine and transferring force between the lower and upper body. I would argue the former is most important and often forgotten function of the core.
If the core is weak and unable to properly stabilize the spine, we are more prone to injury and unable to complete not only athletic tasks but even our activities of daily living, like sitting comfortably in an office chair all day. Most back injuries occur from excessive force being applied to the spine from front to back, side to side, or rotationally, and this can be from a one-time event or a history of repeated movements with improper mechanics.
While crunches have their place in a workout routine, try adding some of these moves to your next workout to strengthen your core:
- Spencer Weldon