Core Strength and a Balanced Body

Core strength has become a veritable buzzword in the fitness world in the last few years. But it can be difficult to understand exactly what is meant when experts refer to the core, and what the actual benefits of a strong balanced body can mean for you. In today’s Sheppard Method Pilates blog, we explain what exactly your core is and what makes it so important to a healthy body.

What Exactly Does Your “Core” Refer To?

When fitness experts talk about core muscles, they are referring to multiple major muscle groups including the rectus and transversus abdominis, internal and external obliques, erector spinae, multifidus, and the longissimus thoracis. That doesn’t even include some of the minor core muscles like the latissimus dorsi. As you can see, “core” is a nice simple reference to a very complex multilayered muscle group that extends from your shoulders to your pelvis.

What Does the Core Actually Do?

The core muscles are key in nearly every major muscle movement. They primarily work as a stabilizer and means of energy transfer between parts of the body as opposed to a primary muscle mover. Most importantly the core muscles help to balance and control the spine.  By keeping the spine rigid during complex movements they are able to transfer energy from one part of your body to another. An example would be using your hips to increase the force of your hands when swinging a baseball bat.

Benefits of a Healthy Core

In today’s sedentary office environment, many of us sit in front of a computer for hours at a time. This can cause lower back stiffness, loss of flexibility, and mobility issues. Strengthening your core muscles leads to a more balanced body and helps to relieve these common problems. In addition, a stronger core helps to increase the performance of weight training by having more efficient movement and force generation. You can also run faster, as your core muscles help to keep your torso upright and allow your back and hips to work together more smoothly. A strong core allows improved balance, flexibility, and posture. As your back and abdominal area work in-concert and strengthen, the rest of your body begins to work more in sync. When we refer to a balanced body this is what we mean. All the different parts of your body working together to perform at a higher level.

Creating a Balanced Body with a Strong Core

Despite the core working mostly as a stabilizer and transfer of force, many people focus on repetitive movement such as sit-ups as their primary core workout. The Sheppard Method believes that to get a truly balanced body it is important to find your core and use measured movements to strengthen that core with flexibility and balance. By using your limbs and core in in concerted movements you are strengthening those muscles abilities to work together and stabilize the rest of your body.

Contact Sheppard Method Pilates to Start Building a Balanced Body Today

If the idea of a body that works in tandem sounds good to you, or if you have trouble with back pain or coordination contact Sheppard Method Pilates today to set up a private Pilates session or join one of our classes with one of our expert instructors.