Today we are going to discuss the concept of core and conditioning your core. Every day we hear something on television or in print talking about your core. It appears that nobody has a strong core and everybody needs to work on it. However, rarely does anyone identify what the core actually is and why it’s important. There are several different definitions, however here is one that I find most useful and easy to understand.
In the body there are dozens and dozens of muscles. Some muscles are designed to move and some muscles are designed to stabilize. Mobilizer muscles are what I like to refer to as the “glory” muscles. These are the muscles that you work out in a gym and people try to make bigger; such as your biceps, your pectorals, your quadriceps and your gastrocnemius muscles. Mobilizer muscles can to be long, crossover at least one joint and have a large range of motion. Muscles like these depend on long contractions to move your body parts.
Stabilizer muscles have a completely different function. They tend to be shorter muscles that don’t move very much and are designed to hold you in proper position when at rest and when moving. These muscles are your core muscles. Examples of these muscles are the rotator cuff, the piriformis and the oblique muscles of your abdomen.
Many athletes can actually have weak stabilizer muscles and this can lead to injury. How? While the mobilizer muscles are moving your body around at high rates of speed the stabilizer, or core, muscles, hold the joints in proper position to react to the forces of the activity. While the mobilizer muscles can stabilize you to some degree, they frequently fail at this activity resulting in injury to those weak stabilizer muscles. A large percentage of orthopedic practice is treating stabilizer or core muscle injury which can become chronic and debilitating.
Developing balanced stabilizer muscles is extremely important to being able to participate in your sport or activity of choice injury free. Any training regimen must include some evaluation of your core strength and an effort to improve your core. Just like you cannot be your own lawyer, you need to consult a knowledgeable healthcare or fitness professional to be taught the proper methods to train your core. People suffering from an acute overuse injury frequently have an underlying stabilizer or core issue as the root cause and in order to effectively treat the injury, some form of physical therapy to strengthen the core muscles is imperative.
Sports & Orthopedic Center offers a full range of treatment options and evaluations including on-site physical therapy and musculoskeletal training. If you would like to find out more information about core, please schedule an appointment with one of the physicians at Sports & Orthopedic Center.