What is Core Stability Training?

Alex Paul

Core stability refers to a person’s ability to recruit and use the muscles located in the trunk of the body. These muscles are important for keeping the lower back in alignment, which can affect the alignment of the entire body. Core stability training, therefore, focuses on increase the strength of the trunk muscles to allow for greater control of the body. The muscles located in the trunk are often involved in stabilization rather than specific movements and hence need to be strong as well as having a high endurance.

Yoga can be good for stability training.
Yoga can be good for stability training.

Some of the muscles that are often involved in core stability training include the multifidus and internal oblique. These two are particularly important for keeping the lumbar spine supported throughout the day. Although strengthening these muscles will help to reduce the likelihood of back injures, core stability training can also help avoid problems in other regions of the body. For example, weakness of the trunk can cause hip issues which in turn can result in knee pain.

Standup paddleboards may improve balance and strengthen the core muscles.
Standup paddleboards may improve balance and strengthen the core muscles.

Not only does core stability training focus on the strength of trunk muscles but also the timing. Some muscles in the trunk contract automatically before forces hit the spine in order to prevent any injuries that may occur. For this reason, core strength building alone is often not enough — exercises to make sure the muscles are firing correctly are just as important.

Core stability training exercises focus on the core muscles of the trunk. Due to the fact that these muscles are not usually involved in motion the exercises are often isometric in nature. An isometric exercise involves contraction of a muscle without movement. Often, these muscles are also subjected to relatively weak forces but for long periods of time throughout the day. For this reason the muscles don’t have to be excessively strong but require a high level of endurance as well as the ability to fire at the correct times.

Core stability training can involve a number of different exercises. These can include balance and stability training, yoga for strengthening the trunk muscles and isometric contractions of specific muscles. Although initially core stability exercises focus on exercises with very little movement a more advanced student may move onto exercises such as lunges and pres ups. Press ups help the core muscles because in order to keep a straight spine the trunk must be recruited effectively and for the duration of the exercise.

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