The Core Muscles – what exactly are they and why are they important?

Defining the core…

The core is the whole torso of the body without the arms and legs, it is the ‘crossroads’ of the body, providing a link between the lower and upper body and providing a firm base from which force can be generated with the arms and legs. The core muscles can be seen as the ‘powerhouse’ of the body, where the centre of gravity is located and where all movement begins. When these muscles contract they create a non-compressible cylinder where the spine is stabilised and forms the working foundation from which the arms and legs can function optimally.

The muscles that constitute ‘core muscles’ are as follows:

Inner muscle layer –

  • transversus abdominis (TVA), a girdle that goes all round the middle
  • internal obliques at the sides
  • lumbar multifidus at the back
  • diaphragm at the top
  • pelvic floor at the bottom

Outer muscle layer –

  • rectus abdominis (your 6-pack!) at the front
  • external obliques at the sides
  • erector spinae at the back
  • latissimus dorsi at the back
  • gluteals in the buttocks

What are the benefits of strong core muscles?

  • improved stability
  • improved balance
  • improved posture
  • improved movement
  • improved sporting performance
  • reduced back pain
  • reduced sporting injuries

Hypopressive exercises are the most effective workout you can do for your core muscles: they work the core as a whole rather than just working the pelvic floor muscles as you might in Pilates. Hypopressives increase abdominal and pelvic floor muscle tone by an average of 58% and reduce the pressure in your abdomen so you can withstand the pressure created by exercise, gravity and life in general more effectively.