Why it pays to build your core strength

It is surprising how many people ask why it is important to build up the core muscles – especially in relates to back pain or other issues with body discomfort. In fact, some people with ‘significant’ back pain find that they are hindered in their everyday activities, including something as basic as tying their own shoelaces or getting dressed.

There are a number of different reasons why someone might have problems with back pain, and having weak core muscles may be one of the factors that can lead to someone having a sore or painful back.

Misconception of the word ‘core’

Oftentimes people assume that ‘core’ means that you are referring to lower back strength and six-pack abdominals. Yet our core is more than just those two vitally important muscles. In fact, there are a large number of muscles between the abdomen and the ribs that comprise our core. These muscles work together, meaning it is not necessary for them all to have the strength needed to do a specific job.

The role of the abdominal and back muscles

When people think about training their core strength, they think about the abdominals – the ‘abs’. The muscles that receive most of the focus are the rectus abdominis. You can see these ‘washboard ab muscles’ on the cover of almost any fitness magazine.

The primary role for this muscle is to pull our shoulders towards the hips. However, that is just a small aspect of what those core muscles are capable of doing. The best way to describe what these muscles help with is ‘support’ and ‘posture’.

The proper posture

These core muscles make sure that whatever we do, our upper body is in the proper posture. Whether this means sitting at our desk, riding a bike, lifting something heavy, standing up, or just sitting down. Standing up tall or pulling your shoulders back and sitting is the easiest way to see what posture means.

Offering support

As mentioned, another major role for these muscles is offering support. Think about putting something on the top shelf in the kitchen, doing squats, or just grabbing a heavy shopping bag. In order to support the spine, the core muscles have to contract. This guarantees that the body remains rigid rather than flexible, because that could damage the spine.

If you do not have the core muscle strength to support your upper body during these moments, you are either going to put additional pressure on the spine or falter under the weight of whatever you are lifting.

Efficient movement

Finally, core muscles are important in enabling efficient movement. If we did not have effective core muscles, our upper body would flop around a great deal. This excess movement would put a great deal of pressure on the other muscles and joints in the body.

Protect your inner organs and central nervous system

It is also important that we consider what lies below the surface. The core is where our central nervous system and vital organs do a great deal of work. We also have the most important and largest veins and arteries in our core. By having strong core muscles, you can be sure that you are protected throughout the day. It can affect the quality of life if you continuously have pressure on your spinal cord because of weakened core muscles.

Banish back pain

As previously mentioned, one of the most common side effects to a weak core is back pain. The back muscles are overly strong while the abdominals are weak. This can cause a great deal of discomfort because the back muscles are going to be working harder to stabilize the weakened abdominals.

Why some people need help

Some people wonder why they need help building their core strength. The primary reason is that most people have no idea how to train their core. The most visible muscle happens to be the rectus abdominis, which explains why it gets all of the attention.

However, this leads to people doing crunches until they are blue in the face, and they might switch that up with sit-ups and more sit-ups for good measure. Forgetting the rest of the core and strengthen that muscle by itself may be dangerous. There is little support on the sides and near the back. Only the front of the abdomen is being strengthened.

This does not mean that you should not be doing sit-ups or crunches, but they should not be the sole focus of your core exercise programs. If you want to learn more about how you can strengthen your core, call the professionals Total Back Care at 8357 8211 for a consultation. Find out how having a stronger core can make a difference in your everyday life.