When people say they want to strengthen their core this usually means that they want better looking abdominal muscles. Our trunk is made up of six layers of muscle, with the outer most layer consisting of the largest muscle group and the deepest layer having the smallest muscle group. It is the deeper layers that intimately support our spine and joints and actually best represent what we know as our core. Although the abdominal muscles do a tremendous amount to enhance our posture it is the deeper layer muscles throughout our trunk that directly connect to the vertebrae in our spine and provide the support they need to protect our ligaments, discs and nerves from irritation.
When our core muscles are strong and contracted they can support the body in amazing ways. We have all seen dancers and gymnasts who can jump into the air and flip their bodies at a moment’s notice and this is directly because of core strength. The great thing about muscles is that we can work to strengthen them at any age. Whether we are young or old we can all reap the benefits that core strengthening can offer. Some of the many benefits include better balance, preventing or removing back pain, postural improvement and sport specific endurance.
Many of the people who come to Live Well initially have physical complaints that are directly linked to a lack of core muscle strength. If we think of our bodies as buildings with our spine being represented as the wood beams in a building and our nerves as the electrical system it makes sense that the main support for the building’s structure comes from the muscles that are attached throughout the structure. At Live Well Chiropractic and Pilates center we work to provide you with better joint movement through chiropractic, stronger core strength through Pilates and flexibility through massage and Pilates. Having all three elements (proper joint mobility, adequate core strength and flexibility) allows our bodies to function at the highest levels.
How Do We Train The Core?
Since there are many core muscles the exercises to strengthen them must vary routinely and incorporate all muscle layers . Unlike strengthening the biceps which challenges only a few muscles; core strengthening needs activities such as Pilates, swimming or yoga to challenge many muscle groups at once. The exercises need to be varied so that all the muscles receive adequate challenge and avoid the risk of routine exercises that prevent further growth and change to occur.
At Live Well we offer group and private reformer based (Allegro Balanced Body) Pilates sessions to help people learn what specific exercises they can do to improve their core strength. We have many instructors who have a keen knowledge for different styles of pilates and body challenges. For those who need to do exercises at home in addition to working with an instructor some exercises that may be given often include: Plank, back bridges, superman, push-ups, crunches and squats.
Core strengthening is like brushing your teeth in the sense that if you work on the exercises regularly the results will be greater and longer lasting than infrequent and strenuous bouts of exercise.
For other any questions regarding core strengthening and postural improvement please come in to our office to speak with one of our chiropractic doctors or Pilates instructors. They will be more than happy to examine you and provide you with ideas and/or recommendations for care.