CORE MUSCLES OF THE BACK
THE MOST IMPORTANT MUSCLES, THE MUSCLE CORSET OF THE SPINE
- The core stability is what we call the strong muscle corset that is located around the back and stomach.
- These muscles are known as ‘core’ and they form a solid basis for other muscles that are activated to initiate movement.
- A complete program for strengthening these muscles can be used for rehabilitation of the spine, injury prevention and improving the sporting level.
THE THEORY OF THE ‘CORE’ MUSCLES
The core muscles can be represented as a cylinder around the inside of the abdomen. There are 4 major muscle groups:
- These muscles are the deepest of all abdominal muscles and are located under the oblique abdominis and rectus abdominis (the so-called six pack).
- They are considered the stability muscles.
- They connect the individual vertebrae of the spine and extend to both sides at the front of the abdomen.
- When they are tightened, the internal pressure increases in the abdomen and gives an exceptional stability of the spine.
- These deep back muscles lie on both sides of the spine and attach to the lumbar vertebrae.
- The function for the back is to maintain the posture and this gives support to the back to keep it straight.
- This is the most important muscle for breathing.
- When the transverse muscles contract, the ‘membrane’ is tightened and this causes pressure in the abdominal cavity. This ensures a stabilization of the spine.
The pelvic floor
- The pelvic floor muscles, known to pregnant women, offer a muscular ‘sling’ from back to front. From the ‘bottom’ of the spine (the coccyx) to the front of the pelvis.
- Together with the transverse abdominal muscles they form ‘cylindrical’ muscles.
When these muscles simultaneously contract, they keep the spine in its most stable position (the neutral zone) and help to prevent injuries. It is known that the first contraction occurs before a possible displacement of the limbs (arm or leg) and therefore they keep the spine stable. Research shows that people with lower back pain, these muscles only tighten when the limbs are already moved. This causes movements in the spine and that is instability (it causes pain). That is why training these corset muscles is fundamental to stabilize the spine.
THE USE OF SPINAL (SPINE COLUMN) STABILITY
- Strengthening the core muscles is essential to prevent injuries in the lower back.
- By training the core muscles, the other muscles in this area (eg hamstrings, buttocks and back muscles) will work together more effectively.
- The risk of injury due to overloading is reduced by training the muscle groups in balance.
The rehabilitation of an injury:
- Stability of the spine is an essential part of a rehabilitation program. This applies not only to lower back pain, but, for example, also to many shoulder disorders, hip problems and knee problems.
- By providing stability to the muscles that the movement must perform, the conditions are created for an excellent rehabilitation of the injury. This is used and recognized by the most prominent physiotherapists, chiropractors, manual therapists and osteopaths.
Increased sport performance
- Whether you go to the gym every now and then or are a top athlete, stability training of the spine should be part of your training program.
- If you train the stability, the body balance can improve.
- It can improve the rotational power of your body. This will lead to better capacity and performance in sports such as golf, tennis, badminton, squash and swimming.
Achieving the best performance in your sport will come down to getting and keeping well-functioning core musculature. It is the engine of the athlete.