To better understand the importance of core strength, it is important to understand what the core is and how it functions. The “core” as it is commonly called, consists of a group of both superficial and deep muscles that surround and stabilize the lumbopelvic-hip complex. The deep muscles include the internal oblique, transversus abdominis, diaphragm, and pelvic floor, superficial muscles include rectus abdominis, external oblique, erector spinae, latissimus dorsi, and gluteus maximus. Core muscles are responsible for enhancing stability of the trunk and allowing for a more stable base in which you can move your limbs on. The stability is achieved through core muscle contraction, which compresses and stiffens the spine, thereby acting as guy wires decreasing injury risk and enhancing performance.
Core muscle strength and coordination is vital for many functional and athletic activities. Therefore, strengthening of the core should be completed as part of any regular exercise program. Given its simplicity and effectiveness, the use of Swiss ball training for core muscle development has gained popularity over the past several years. Swiss ball training does not require any sophisticated machines, it’s easy to learn and perform the exercises, and the ball can be taken just about anywhere. Performing exercises on the Swiss ball requires constant muscle recruitment from multiple muscles enhancing co-contraction and therefore core stability. Stronger core can help protect your low back, decrease back pain, and promote better posture.
Please consult your Physical Therapist with any questions regarding core strengthening and conditioning.