Core Strength Explained

Core Strength ExplainedMany people ask the question… If I have a 6 pack or a flat stomach does that mean I have a strong core?
The answer is no, A strong core does not mean a 6 pack or a flat stomach.
As dancers we apparently have strong cores and know how to use them. In my own personal experience and from my teaching experience I have discovered that dancers have limited knowledge on what a strong core really is and most do believe that a strong core is a flat stomach or a bulging 6 pack.
A strong core is made up of muscles in your Abs, back, hips and pelvic floor. Many core muscles aren’t visible as other muscles hide them. For example your transverse abdominals (the deepest and most important stomach muscle for a strong core) are hidden by your rectus abdominals (also known as a 6 pack).
Picture this, a dancer and a backstage mech. A dancer is seen on stage looking good and making a performance seem effortless like a 6 pack and the backstage mech or transverse abs can’t be seen but are often working the hardest.
All muscles of the core have important jobs to fulfil.
In the abdominals the Transverse abs create a strong link between the upper and lower body and help protect our organs and help our posture.
Obliques are found on the sides of our waists and help with twisting and tilting at the waist. Rectus abs ,the 6 pack, sit on top of the other stomach muscles and help keep the pelvis in line and protect the spine. Erector spinae are found on the back on either sides of your spine and help with keeping you standing up right.
Core Strength ExplainedIn the hips/pelvic floor the Ilio-psoas also known as hip flexors are found at the top part or your leg helping raise the leg upwards. They join at the top of the thigh travel through your pelvis and join onto your lower spine. These muscles need to be strong but also supple as if they aren’t they can be a cause of lower back pain.
The Gluteus maximus is your buttock muscle and even though they are not found on your core they are the biggest muscle in your body and play an important role in helping with your core.. The glutes play a major part in day-to-day activities like walking, dancing and are a necessity for good posture which is essential for a strong core.
Another muscle that is not a part of the core but plays an important part in aiding the torso in a backwards movement is the hamstring. The tighter your hamstrings the more negative affect it has on your core strength so be sure to stretch your hamstrings regularly. So with all these muscles working as a team to keep your trunk stable your arms and legs are able to move freely, your back will stay healthy, your posture will improve and so will your balance. All of the above is crucial to a dancer. As a dancer if you don’t have a strong core other muscles will over compensate resulting in injury, and how common are injuries in our world of dance.
So next time your crunching away like made trying for the wash board stomach try a few Core strengthening exercises to and see how your body reacts as it gets a stronger core.
Here are a few exercises to try-
Chair Knee Raise
Back Extensions
Remember a 6 pack doesn’t equal a strong core.
Kane Bonke

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