How to tell if you have a weak core.

It seems everywhere you look in the fitness world you hear about the infamous “CORE”.  Someone has probably told you you need to work on it or that your workout is lacking in it.  But what exactly is the core, why is it important and how can you tell if it needs to be strengthened.

The Core muscles can be broken down into the major muscle group and the minor muscle group.

The Major group includes the following:  Pelvic floor muscles, transversus abdominis, multifidus, internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis, erector spinae (sacrospinalis) especially the longissimus thoracis, and the diaphragm.

The Minor group include:  latissimus dorsi, gluteus maximus, and trapezius.

These muscles align the spine, ribs and pelvis and provide structural support to the body.  They are also important in balance and breathing.

There are some symptoms that people notice when their core is weak.  One is chronic low back pain.  You may also have poor posture or poor balance.

There is a breathing test to see how strong your core is. While standing, take a deep breath. Hold for a second and then exhale. Right as you start exhaling, suck your stomach back towards your spine as far as you can possibly go. You should be able to hold this position for at least 10 seconds, if not you probably have a weak core.

Another great test is the plank test.  Basically you should be able to get in the plank position and hold it for at least 50 seconds.  If not, you need some work.  The good news is that holding a plank actually helps work your core.

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