Core strengthening exercises are all the rage in the fitness community. So, what exactly is this "core" that everyone is talking about? Most people think of the core as only the abdominal muscles, however, it is a much more. Think of the core as a muscular corset. The foundation of the core is the pelvic floor and hip girdle muscles. The front is the Rectus Abdominis, Internal and External Obliques, and Transverse Abdominis. The back is the Erector Spinae and Multifidus. The top of the core is the diaphragm.
What is the difference between core strengthening exercises and abdominal exercises?
Abdominal exercises only work the front of the core. Core strengthening exercises focus on specific exercises for all the muscles which make up the core. These exercises include flexion, extension, and lateral movements.
Why does it matter if I have a strong core?
The core primarily functions as a stabilizer. A strong core protects the spine and the surrounding muscles and allows for normal spinal function. Weak muscles can lead to injury of the lower back and chronic pain.