The core consists of all the muscles in the torso, from the small deep muscles in the pelvis, back, chest, and abdominal area to the more well-known larger ones, including the abdominals, trapezius, pectoralis major, and latissimus dorsi. Core strength is the basis for all movement and is literally the center, or core, of our daily lives. A weak core can result in back and other injuries, while a strong core helps people maintain balance and better perform strength and flexibility activities (which include daily activities, physical activity, and sport activities).
For a long time, weightlifters, trainers, and fitness buffs have lifted weights to make arm muscles, such as biceps and triceps, and leg muscles, such as quadriceps and hamstrings, stronger. For the torso, there were some back and abdominal exercises to strengthen these muscles, but those exercises were performed perfunctorily without much insight into the importance of the body’s core. In recent years, there has been an increasing emphasis on developing the strength of the torso, or core, because it truly is the origin of our movement.
Athletes especially need core training to reduce injuries. When the core is weak, the athlete uses other parts of the body, specifically the legs and arms, to produce power and speed. This often results in joint and muscle injuries because the muscles shorten from the constant repetitions, and the range of motion (ROM) of joints is reduced. In effect, sport-specific muscle imbalances occur, with consequent injuries.
A strong core is essential for Olympic athletes as well as weekend warriors. However, athletes aren’t the only people who need to consider their core strength. In fact, everybody needs a strong core, from toddlers to seniors. Through exercises with exercise balls, toddlers can improve their motor skills earlier and become more balanced walkers. Seniors can improve their balance and prevent life-threatening falls through core strength training. Core strength training improves the efficient functioning of everyone’s musculoskeletal system and maintains the ideal posture that is essential for movement.