When most people want to work on their stomach muscles, their main focus would typically be concentrated on the middle part of their belly, the rectus abdominis. This would be the part of your stomach that creates those six pack abs that everybody wants to have. Girls love how ripped abs look and men desperately try to attain it. The physical appearance component of having nice stomach muscles is indeed a good trait to have, but this is only a small proportion of what the core muscles can actually do.
It is important not only having strong abs and mid-section, but to also have a strong core overall. People misinterpret the meaning in having a strong central core and fail to recognize the importance of what the core can actually do for oneself, besides making you look good in a swimsuit. In fact, possessing a strong core can be beneficial for people in everyday life situations and it plays an essential role in enhancing physical performance. The core is not as simple as people see it to be. There are many muscles that make up the composition of the core group.
These muscles are not just limited to the abdomen section of the body that most people perceive. The core is composed of the obliques and lower back, aside from the abdominals and they are all connected to different muscle groups that vary from the back of the neck all the way down to the thighs. “[The core is] responsible for supporting postures, creating motion, coordinating muscle actions, allowing for stability, absorbing force, generating force, and transmitting forces throughout the body.
This means that regardless of the movement or activity, the center of your body is responsible for the process and outcome” (Handzel, 2010). People utilize their cores more than they realize and improving core strength can help improve everyday activities. Your core is included in a lot of movements that your body performs throughout the day; getting up from bed, reaching up to get a book from a bookshelf and even laughing are some examples of activities that include your core. Building a strong core will help improve one’s posture, and there are many perks that are associated with that.
A good posture helps us keep bones and joints in correct alignment so that our muscles are used correctly, decreasing the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in degenerative arthritis and joint pain. It also reduces the stress on the ligaments holding the spinal joints together, minimizing the likelihood of injury. A good posture allows muscles to work more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy and, therefore, preventing muscle fatigue. It also helps prevent muscle strain, overuse disorders, and even back and muscular pain” (NASAPE, 2012).
Just in improving one’s posture, it is evident that one’s overall physical well being is also improved. Strengthening the core of your body will help many components of physical fitness and it is an essential muscle group for all athletes to work on to for stability and endurance. In order for an athlete or anyone physically active to perform efficiently, it is important to have a strong core. Your spine and limbs are all connected through the core section of your body and because everything is connected from this central core, the strength of your body is determined by how strong your core is, even if your limb muscles are strong.
The core of your body can be looked at as your body’s power source of energy where the center of gravity is located. It is like the channel that transfers power from one muscle to another. McGill explains how the core is interlinked with different muscle groups, “Whether swinging a golf club, throwing a softball, diving into a pool, or performing your favorite exercise, the muscles of your core are acting concentrically, eccentrically, and/or isometrically in a variety of planes to successfully complete a movement or movement pattern. (McGill, 2002). Having a weak core will set back anyone active from performing any kind of motion with effectiveness. Having a strong core greatly improves sport performance.
When participating in vigorous aerobic activities, the core helps with respiration and in catching your breath. The power development from any lift or throw derives from the legs, transferred to your core, and then to whatever lift or throw is being performed. Not having a strong core will cut all of the energy produced from the legs in half, if not even more.
The body’s core muscles play an important role in the prevention of injury. When you have good core stability, there are many muscles that work together simultaneously to provide support to other muscles groups. Strong core muscles act as a brace of support that is necessary to help prevent pain and injury. By strengthening your core; it will help you increase the stabilization of your back and spine, therefore, improving the strength of your muscles to with stand any uncomfortable movements asserting stress to your body.
The stronger your core is, the more your body will be able to endure any force put upon it, “the muscles of the core when strong, stable, and efficient are better able to absorb and translate force, putting less stress on extremities (Handzel, 2010). By obtaining a strong core, your body will be well-built. This can be compared to the shocks on a bicycle; it’s essentially the same component how the shocks on a bike makes the landing a lot softer from any jump or stunt.
Although many people have the wrong interpretation of the importance of what having a strong core is really about, it is still beneficial to have in many ways. Having a strong core will help stabilize your spine and back, thus reducing the chances of injury and in developing resistance in any stress or force to your body during training. The body’s core serves as a transfer channel that is essential in the development and output of your body’s strength and movement. The benefits from having a strong and stable core should not be ignored, as it helps not only in physical activity, but in everyday life as well.