When you hear someone talking about your core, undoubtably you think of your abs. But what is your core exactly?
The core is the area of your body that includes your midsection and it involves all your muscles in that area including the front, back and sides. Think of everything from your skull to the bottom of your pelvis..
To get technical, the core includes the traverse abdominis, erector spinae, obliques and your lower lats. These muscles work as stabilizers for the entire body. Our body has two types of muscle movers and stabilizers. Movers are big muscles that move your body parts. Stabilizers are muscles that hold your parts in place and prevent you from being damaged while the movers are moving you. Stabilizer muscles work to stabilize the body and its extremities during multi-plane movements.
Most functional movements are highly dependent on this part of the body. A lack of core muscular strength can result in injury. Some of your back muscles are considered part of the core muscle group. Your lower back and the outer-middle part of your back, sometimes called your "lats," are the back muscles that are also considered core muscles. Strong back core muscles support your abs and help you with actions like sitting up at your desk, bending to tie your shoe or reaching up to take something off a shelf.
Running down along your sides, from your ribs to your upper hips, are your obliques. These important core muscles help you twist and bend from side to side. They're necessary for a powerful swing in golf or tennis and are essential for turning your body to see what's behind you.
The muscles of the torso are typically the only ones that come to mind when you think of your core, but your “core muscles” actually extend down into your legs. The core muscles of your upper body get support and assistance from your hip muscles. Even your hamstrings, which extend down the backs of your thighs, and your glutes, together known as the hip extensors, are considered core muscles. The muscles of your lower back, glutes and even hips play a role in core strength. Without these muscles to assist the rest of your core, you'd find it difficult to sit down and stand up, lift heavy items or extend your legs.