A great series of study questions showed up this week in my Applied Anatomy course and got me thinking even more about the muscles I cue clients to find every day. Read on how the core is more than meets the eye...
From the top of my head I would say the transverse abdominus is one of the most important core muscles in addition to the multifidus (a back extensor muscle that aids in trunk stabilization), the diaphragm, the obliques, and the pelvic floor muscles. Emphasis is often placed on the rectus abdominus, or "six-pack muscles", though this muscle is more superficial, does little for core stability and acts primarily to flex the trunk. However, upon further research in my Essentials of Exercise Physiology Text it states that the core is made up of 29 pairs of muscles that hold the trunk steady. These include a four sided muscular frame with the abdominal muscles in front, the paraspinals and gluteals in back, the diaphragm at the top, and the pelvic floor and hip girdle framing the bottom.
b. What are the functions of your core?
The core maintains stability of the trunk, supports and aids the strength of the back, protects the spine from injury, prevents incontinence (pelvic floor muscles) and assists dancers, athletes, martial artists, and even novice fitness participants to move efficiently. The core also absorbs ground impact forces and reduces excessive compression and shearing forces along the axis of the skeleton.
c. Why is it important to strengthen the core muscles?
Core muscles are imperative for both aesthetic and bio-mechanical function. Proper use of ones core muscles encourages good posture, ideal spinal alignment, prevention of back pain or injury (particularly lumbar), and a strong balanced center to support the movement of the upper and lower extremities.
d. Tell us where you got your answers.
For my answers I used Essentials of Exercise Physiology Text, Karen Clippinger’s Dance Anatomy and Kinesiology Textbook as well as my Study Guide on Movement Analysis from Body Arts and Science Pilates Certification Course.