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Core is a muscle group that is very often neglected. People leave it to the end of their workout but can never be bothered to actually do it, so just walk out! However, your core is the foundation of your training. A weak core will effect your progression up the weights rack. The more weight you add to your movements and lifts, the more pressure there is being put through your muscles/joints. Your core is the platform from which you lift, if your core isn't strong enough to support you, your lower back begins to overarch and strain, Thus, causing lower back pain. This is hugely common for those inexperienced or unaware of the importance of core strength.

THE CORE MUSCLES: The four main abdominal muscle groups that combine to completely cover the internal organs include:

  • Transversus Abdominis – the deepest muscle layer. Its main roles are to stabilise the trunk and maintain internal abdominal pressure

  • Rectus Abdominis – slung between the ribs and the pubic bone at the front of the pelvis. When contracting, this muscle has the characteristic bumps or bulges that are commonly called ‘the six pack’. The main function of the rectus abdominis is to move the body between the ribcage and the pelvis

  • External oblique muscles – these are on each side of the rectus abdominis. The external oblique muscles allow the trunk to twist, but to the opposite side of whichever external oblique is contracting. For example, the right external oblique contracts to turn the body to the left

  • Internal oblique muscles – these flank the rectus abdominis and are located just inside the hipbones. They operate in the opposite way to the external oblique muscles. For example, twisting the trunk to the left requires the left side internal oblique and the right side external oblique to contract together.

Another muscle that is involved in moving the trunk is the Multifidus. This is a deep back muscle that runs along the spine. It works together with the Transversus abdominis to increase spine stability and protect against back injury or strain during movement or normal posture. Proper ‘core strengthening’ techniques, learned from a skilled allied health professional, can support the combined function of these muscle groups.

KEY POINTS WHEN CORE TRAINING: - Always be in control of your movement. - Be slow and don't let your lower back over arch.

- Start simple, nail the basic movements first. Once you understand how to ‘brace’ your core and not overarch, you can then be more adventurous with your movements. - Make sure you DO IT. Its okay going to the gym and training hard, but if you aren't working your core specifically, you will struggle to progress like you want too.

For any more help or advice with your core strength, please just get in touch. I have a little youtube video that can also help;

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