Monday Motivation (week 22): The Importance of the Core
I hope everyone had a pain free weekend! One topic we haven’t really gotten into yet that I know everyone loves to work on is the core. I hope everyone likes to work on the core because a strong core is the foundation to doing other lifts well. Exercises like squats, deadlifts, and even upper body presses and pulls all require one thing from your core; stability.
The core is a group of muscles that are located near the midsection of the body and are responsible for stabilizing and transferring force during movements. One big thing that people don’t really understand is that your core and abs are not the same thing. Your core is three dimensional in structure and in its function with movement. Your six-pack abs are not even the most important component of the core when we get into talking about movement and performance. Your rectus abdominis is part of your core but is not the only part. We must train the anterior AND posterior of the core. A good way to look at the core is in the sense that it is the foundation of your house. We must get all the dimensions of the core or else our house aka our body is collapsing and falling apart.
The core is so important to our movements in different exercises because it transfers energy from the ground up throughout the whole body. If we are not able to keep our back stiff during a squat and end up having a rounded back looking like a fishing rod bending in the water we are simply not going to be able to lift as much weight as the individual who is able to keep their back from resisting flexion. Others in the fitness industry describe it as an “energy leak”. If we are not able to keep the back straight with our core muscles by making them stiff, we will not be moving as efficiently as we possibly can be. We are trying to make the core function like that fishing rod but by putting wires all around every part of the fishing pole so it becomes very stiff and takes a lot more force to get it to bend.
Dr. Stuart McGill mentions that for any distal movement to occur, it requires proximal stiffness. In other words, for movement away from the midline of the body, there needs to be stability at the midline of the body. For example, try and move your pointer finger back and forth very fast. To move your finger very fast, you can feel your wrist stiffen up. This example shows that for any movement in our body, our core NEEDS to become stiff; there’s no if ands or buts. It must. So to me, we should train it to be stiff to improve our other “core lifts” like the squat and deadlift because we need to train the body to function more efficiently, not to just look better.
We will keep diving into the core and how you have to intelligently program core training in next weeks Monday Motivation. As always let me know what you think on Instagram at sean_maloney.12 or my email address [email protected]
In Good Health Always,
Sean Maloney and the ToneUp Club Team