The area that is now commonly known as the CORE of the body refers to all the muscle groups surrounding, as well as immediately above and below the hips. These include the abdominals, gluteus (buttocks), lumbar spine, hamstrings and thighs.
Let us start off with a simple experiment to help explain the feel, importance and principal of using the CORE for your overall mobility, balance and power -
- Sit down in a regular chair. Now, without using your hands or arms, stand upright. That should have been relatively easy, was it not?
- Now sit down again in the same upright position as before, but this time try to imagine that your whole abdominal area (all the muscles under the ribcage) is “dead”. They do not exist. Remember - they do not exist. It is important to spend a few seconds getting yourself in to this thought process. Please concentrate until you feel that you are into the mode. Again, please stand up. You should find that you are not able to! You should not even be able to move or even so much as lean forward. Why? It should now be obvious that it is impossible to make a move, any move, whether simply a move forward in the chair, stand up, sit down, turn, bend, and get in to or out of a car or even bed, without putting the abdominal muscles – a critical part of the CORE - into gear in the same way that you would need to put a car in to gear before moving it.
- You automatically – without even thinking - use the abdominal muscles to make any and virtually every upper or lower body movement. You will notice that all good sportsmen/women use this CORE area to create control, power, rhythm and balance. Take a closer look at the actions, even the smooth power & grace of a ballet dancer. Unless they utilize the CORE, they will not be able to perform at anywhere near the required high standard. Dancers, golfers, tennis players, athletes, boxers, exponents of judo and karate – they all have to use the CORE to succeed. Every physical task is made easier, better controlled, with greater safety and precision. And you save energy whilst safe-guarding all your joints.
- To test and start this essential habit, continually think of “squeezing” the abdominal muscles before and during every movement. And although it may sound difficult, relax the rest of the body and breathe normally.
- This should be pure and simple proof beyond any doubt, about the importance of the flexibility, strength, alignment and well-being of every part of the body and how it affects other parts from performing well.
- And that is exactly how the Human Body is supposed to function. If your posture is weak or not aligned in some way, tension and strain will be placed on other parts, no matter how strong or healthy they may be. Also, if one side of the body is weaker than the other side, it will also cause all sorts of problems.
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