Friday, October 7, 2011

Most overused term in fitness

 There are trends and there are those invaluable concepts that make our world a better place to live. More friends, more useful, more productive and a lot safer.

In physical therapy there are always new techniques, strategies and pieces of equipment coming out. Some of them are just fads. But some things are revolutionary and utterly change the way of thinking throughout the profession.

Core training is one of these concepts. For the longest time doctors would say that a persons back hurts because their abs are weak. So people started doing situps. But that just seemed to make things worse.

Then we started doing crunches on the stability ball thinking that it would engage more muscle and put less stress on the lower back. It helped a little bit but not too much. Then new research started to emerge that changed the way of thinking. This new way of thinking took a step back and stopped looking at training just a single abdominal muscle. But instead looked at exactly what else was around that joint and how they were used to keep the spine stable.

At that point we began to realize that core training was really about keeping the spine in a safe position while simultaneously being able to move our arms and legs. We began to incorporate exercises like Bird-dog, plank, dead-bug, and lock-out. No we have fully progressed to training the core in the same way we are supposed to use it on a daily basis: to maintain posture from a seated or standing position.

Now most of our higher level core training at P&M is done in the standing position. We train the core muscles to keep the spine in a neutral position while pushing, pulling, chopping and lifting. If we look at how the spine is stabilized, it is easily seen that a lot of different muscles must be used to A) keep the spine in a neutral alignment, and B) to keep the pelvis in a slight anterior tilt all while moving. This takes a lot of coordination and muscular endurance. As a result, can take a while to developed properly!

Although core training has become a very popular phrase these days - almost being overused - we still have so much to learn about how to train the core to not only rehabilitate spinal injuries, but also to improve fitness and athletic performance.

If you're interested in learning more about how to strengthen your core or to get a free a core evaluation with our Post-Therapy Fitness team, email or call 661-912-9991.

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