Sit-ups are an abdominal exercise often mistaken to be reflective of having good core strength. The US Navy is reviewing their  presence in fitness testing protocol because of the loading on the the lower back.

The presence of a six-pack and the performance of sit-ups and other more generalised ‘global’ abdominal exercises such as the ‘plank’ can create a false reading of someone’s true core stability.

What is ‘core stability’? Core stability refers to your deep abdominal muscles (transverses abdominus, and internal oblique), pelvic floor and deep lower back muscle (multifidus) ability to stabilise the spine in it’s neutral lordotic backwards curved position during task performance.

The body has muscles that stabilise and muscles that move the body. The further the muscles lie away from joint over which they cross the greater the movement force they produce at the joint. Whereas, the closer they are to the joint the greater they compress the joint and stabilise it. This is the difference between the deep muscles of your body and the more superficial muscles (in most cases) and therefore the reason why the muscles that are the prime movers of the body are the muscles we can often see. Sometimes what’s out of sight is out of mind!

Therefore, like an apple that you pick up in the supermarket with a firm skin and take home to find later when you bite in that it’s rotten inside, the perception of core stability can be very similar. For your health and true core stability you need to start on what’s inside and deep to stabilise your spine and then work out towards the more superficial and movement muscles of your body. So it’s deep first working on specifics in a safe and neutral position, then once mastered adding global strength via these movement muscles. This is true core strengthening.

Part of muscle training and strength is neuromuscular training. Training to reinforce the same incorrect muscle recruitment patterns will create more harm than good. So not only do you need to train the deep muscles first, you need to often work on disengaging the other muscles as well before moving forward.

Plank may be safer and easier to monitor but it trips the brain into turning everything on and can reinforce those same poor muscle recruitment patterns. True training requires specific instruction, expert supervision AND small classes (no greater than 3-5). There is no one in our community that has the level of knowledge and expertise in body biomechanics and core stability as our physiotherapy pilates teachers. We speak with the best knowledge available and often treat many clients who have been elsewhere with adverse effects.

What do you think of the linked article? Click here to read. Correct about neutral with the plank but we need to train core strength to stabilise your spine as your limbs move, not just in a set static position. This sort of training only improves strength at the joint position you train.

Be more specific and enrol in our Pin Point Pilates classes today. Give us a call or e-mail reception today with your interest. Classes run most days of the week including Saturdays.