Prevent back injury with Core Stabilization

There are so many fitness terms that are important to understand in order to maximize exercise benefits and safety; one of them being, CORE STABILIZATION. 

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This term refers to isolation of the midsection which primarily involves the abdominals and the lower back, although other core stability muscles do come into play (glutes, illiopsoas).  Core Stabilization is an isometric contraction of the deep abdominal muscles (Transvesus Abdominus) along with proper positioning of the pelvis to ensure the greatest support and injury prevention for the low back. It helps our bodies maintain a proper, upright alignment and serves to support the back and pelvis. This should be learned and practiced as a co-contraction before all exercises as well as during dynamic movements in order to avoid injury.  Learning how to effectively recruit these deep trunk muscles involves practice and knowledge of initiating what’s called the “draw-in” or “brace”; something which revolutionized my abdominal training decades ago and I discuss this concept in-depth in my TnT Abdominal Workout Power Pack , along with providing specific teaching exercises. This concept is also referred to as the “vacuum” exercise or “abdominal hallowing”.  The deep muscles of the trunk involve the deepest of the abdominal muscles called the TRANSVERSUS ABDOMINIS (what I call the TVA, and aka the TA), the MULTIFIDUS (MF) which is a deep stabilizer muscle that is intertwined in the vertebrae of the spine, INTERNAL OBLIQUES which are the deeper side abdominal muscles that laterally flex and rotate (twist) the spine, PARASPINAL which are muscles that are attached to the vertebrae and run next to, and roughly parallel with, the spine and control the motion of the individual bones, as well as assist with the larger motions of the whole trunk area, and the PELVIC FLOOR which includes the muscles of the bladder, bowel (and uterus in women).

These muscles all provide active support of the lumbar spine. The deepest core muscles do not produce movement, but rather, involve an isometric (static) contraction and act as stabilizers throughout all movements in everyday life as well as more strenuous movements involved in fitness and sport activities.

Contraction and a “drawing in” of the trunk muscles along with correct alignment of the pelvis (position to allow for natural/ neutral curve of the spine) are the ‘core’ characteristics involved in core stabilization. 

Susan Arruda