ln the world of working out 'Core Training' is the buzz word and synonymous with an injury free musculoskeletal system and in particular lower back pain. Who these days does not do a core work out or a Pilates workout? It is not just amongst the famous,where Pilates is 'high fashion'. It seems you can't look through a magazine without some reference to the Pilates class that gave them a sleek physique.Once the best kept secret amongst dancers, there is not a singer, athlete or actor who has not claimed the benefits of the regime.
In theory Pilates should be the same as Core Training and necessary for fitness, injury prevention and athletic success. What about all the rest of the fitness participants who do not intentionally do any of these, are they at a disadvantage and are they more likely to develop back injuries?
I am not sure that we all have to do a lot of core work but just enough for our own individual needs. That is why having an individual exercise regime that takes into account the individuals requirements and lifestyle is so effective. More hype, celebrity testimonials and equipment does not necessarily equate to better results. But the basic foundation stone of Pilates is the concept of core stability. Having a stable centre or core, allows one to move in a way that reduces energy wastage and unwanted movements. Good core body strength will protect the joints and muscles of the body from sport and day to day activities eg;
The spine, including the neck and upper back
The hips, knees, and ankles/feet
So the advantages are obvious, if we make low demands on our body then we usually will get away with a couple of core sessions a week. The more active you are at work or the more sport you do the more attention should be placed on including core work into your week.
I usually give most of my patients a core exercise to do. They may not realise I have given them a core exercise, as I choose the exercise according to ability and lifestyle.
When you have large exercise classes then it can be much harder to make sure participants are doing the exercises properly and whether the exercises in the class suit everyone. Your rehabilitation exercises can easily be done at home until you are string enough to participate in a well run class.
The core comprises the muscles in the centre of the body, eg in the pelvis, the abdominals, and the diaphragm are the main components. Some people only talk about the pelvic and lumbar spine musculature as the core area. This is not strictly so.
Visualise the core area as a firm cylinder that surrounds the centre of the body and gives it structural integrity. The cylinder has a lid (the diaphragm) and a base (the pelvic muscles). Core stability is the idea that some muscles in the trunk and pelvic area help stabilise and protect the spine, allowing the arms and legs to move freely with stability and precision, protecting the peripheral joints (eg knees, hips, shoulders etc) as a result.
When rehabilitating a patient after an injury, the best way to make sure they do not do the same thing again is to assess their core muscles for strength. This is often done during the first consultation to help understand how the injury occurred in the first place and then towards the end of treatment to assess which exercise are best suited to the patient. When giving patients exercises I believe in the 'less is more' approach. Too many exercises can stress the body and cause a return of the original injury. Two or three exercises done well usually is more effective.
To be continued ..........