The Best Core is An Active Core
Well, it’s blog time again!
One of the things we see with patients is a desire to have a strong core- the stronger the better, right? Not necessarily.
While a strong core is certainly better than a weak core, an ACTIVE core is really what you want- one that fires and creates stability right at the exact moment it is needed.
How a person hurts his back is when an unpredicted or un-expected micro movement occurs in the low back. It bends the ligaments and… OUCH!!!
See what happened? The core was supposed to contract and stabilize the low back, but it didn’t. So it’s really not a strength issue, it’s an activation issue. It didn’t activate when it was needed. The core is actually an anti-motion system, a series of muscles in the back, abs, pelvic floor and diaphragm that are supposed to co-contract in an orchestrated fashion to pre-load and lock the spine in place. This anti-motion creates trunk rigidity.
Exercises that activate the core, that creates a rigid pillar throughout your trunk are the bast. These are planks, pointers, dying bugs, and side planks. See, there is no motion in the spine, and you create rigidity in the core and spine. This is what was supposed to happen, but did NOT when you hurt your back.
On the other hand, motion type exercises that move the spine in flexion and extension such as sit-ups, crunches, leg lifts, back extensions- these do not train rigidity or core activation, and in fact, injure the spine. Ironically, when the spine is injured and you are experiencing pain- this shuts the core OFF!!!!! Great!
So get the idea- proximal strength, that is your core activating and your trunk going rigid at the right time, allows for distal athleticism. To throw, or lift or push or any athletic activity at all, these motions must be able to push against a rigid trunk and an activated core. Even reaching for the salt shaker at the dinner table… BANG! That core needs to fire, and create that rigid trunk.
Try this, stand there and squeeze your glutes as hard as you can. Now reach out and lift a milk carton or a glass or something. Do you feel how stable you feel? Even in your neck and shoulders. Now try the same thing without squeezing your glutes. See the difference. You feel weak. This why people think they need to be stronger. Not so. You just need to make sure your core is activating. That’s core stability (the glutes and core are “besties” and work together). This is amazing stuff. Rather than hurt yourself, and ruin your back trying to get a strong core, come on into Paragon and we’ll show you the best way to get your core ACTIVATED!!!!!