While we may hear about the desire for “six-pack abs” or “getting ripped” and may even strive for that type of physique, few of us will actually achieve and maintain that elusive six-pack.
The good news is that there is a big difference between getting that look and having core strength and stability. While six-pack abs may look good on the beach, how much will they truly impact your day to day life? For the average person, probably not too much. However improving core strength and stability can have a big impact in preventing injuries and allowing you to better perform the activities you enjoy!
The Core is More Than Just Your Abs
The core is comprised of four major muscle groups: the abs, obliques, low back and glutes. While we all know the abs are in the front of the body, these muscles alone do not lead to overall core strength and stability.
Just like a car, multiple parts must work in tandem to make it function efficiently. It’s important to have an engine, but without the body of the car or the wheels, it won’t be able to travel very far. The same is true for utilizing your core muscles. If you do not have strength and stability in all four muscle groups, there is an increased chance for injury, not only in your core, but also in other areas of the body.
Stability vs. Strength
For many muscle groups, strength is the key to being able to perform most tasks. However, the core requires a balance of stability and strength. In order to assist other parts of the body, such as the arms or legs, stability is needed to shift forces from the legs to the arms and vice versa. When performing activities that involve pushing, bending and lifting, strength is vital to ensure that you won’t just lean forward or even collapse.
It is important to note, core strength and stability isn’t just imperative for those who are young or consider themselves physically fit. Even everyday activities like using a push lawn mower, gardening or picking up your grandkids can lead to injury if the core muscles are not activated.
Looking to improve your core strength and stability? Stay tuned for upcoming tutorials from the Orthopedic ONE Therapy Services and Sports Medicine Team!
In the meantime, click here to learn more about our Sports Medicine specialty and for a list of our Sports Medicine physicians. You can also learn more about core strength and stability, as well as other injury prevention techniques by connecting with one of our Certified Athletic Trainers through our Sports Medicine Hotline.