What is the core and how does it work? Full detailed anatomy and explanation

Do you want a strong core? Strong core can help you be stronger for sports or any other athletic or active thing you do. Listen in for information on what the core really is and how it works. Explaining the inner and outer core, including the anatomy of these muscle groups, and why they are important to strengthen for better stability, control and function as well as less pain.

Hi this is Dana Ranahan from Body Works Sports Physiotherapy in North Vancouver and today I want to talk about core muscles or core strength. So this time of year when it’s back to sports, running, soccer, whatnot, and there’s lots of emphasis on starting to build your core strength which is great, however, I wanted to identify a little bit of the differences in what, different types of the core mean and how we want to use them. So effectively we have an inner core or a deep core that works to stabilize our spine and we have an outer core which are kind of the bigger muscles that do more powerful movements, so like our sit ups, that kind of thing.

So what we find in the clinic here is that people have, especially that have pain, their inner core muscles tend not to work very well, or they become kind of disconnected or not working in the right order of things. I think we sometimes see this even with athletes or people who are busy doing sports or gardening or whatever it may be. So effectively this deep core is almost like a doughnut kind of around our spine and pelvis that maintain stability so when we go to do movements, this deep system kicks in to stabilize. So effectively, if I go to move my arm, my inner core muscles should stabilize my spine so that I don’t get translation or movement through my spine. And then on top of that, once the deep system is working, then we get the bigger muscles on top. So I wanted to help make some sense to that for you because it sounds a little bit confusing.

So if we take a look at, I have a nice picture of the spine here, and we can kind of zoom in on this model. This is a guy with not all of his muscles here but when we look at the inner core. The inner core is comprised of the diaphragm. kind of like an umbrella in the lower part of the ribcage and it forms the roof of the core. Now when we get to the next muscle, this it the transversus abdominis muscle which is our deep abdominal muscle, and as you can see, it’s quite fascial across the front and it runs almost like a girdle all the way around and facially connects to the back.

Now there are some deeper back muscles call the multifidus muscle underneath here that are also considered part of the inner core muscles. And then we also have some muscles through the pelvic floor, hang on let me get it, that down in through here that form like a bowl on the bottom on the bottom half of the pelvis and effectively creates stability. Now as I said, these muscles are deep to the other muscles, so if I add the layers of muscles on top now, we can look at, there’s your rectus abdominis or your 6 pack muscles, and then on top of that we have your internal oblique and external oblique. So there’s layers of muscles.

The more superficial muscles, the external oblique here which runs kind of, you can see how it runs here. Internal oblique, oops sorry my mistake, internal oblique underneath, rectus abdominis and then we have the transversus abdominis underneath. So very important for us to learn how to activate this deep system so that it can stabilize our spine, like the doughnut kind of around the spine before we bring in those bigger muscles because as I said it uses like an anticipatory function so that the deep system activates to stabilize before we move.

So if you’re having any trouble or any questions or really want to train your core the best way possible to generate the best power, you really need to get some deep core activation, and we have lots of information on our website or feel free to give us a call or check out our clinic if you have more questions specifically. Our website is at www.body-works.ca