Core Training Concepts

Core training, is one of, if not the most popular training topics in the health and fitness world and one of the most commonly misconceived and improperly prescribed training concepts. We have all gathered information from articles, Instagram posts and trainers about what core training is and what we choose to define as being our “Core” muscles. Before we unpack our box of commonly held beliefs or ideas about what “Core Training” is, we need to first unpack our current definition of what our core is. Once we do this, we’ll talk in upcoming posts about the rich and complex core training concepts and start talking about these terms in relation to “trunk training.”

If I polled 100 avid gym goers and asked them to tell me where on the body your core musculature exists, I’d bet close to 90% would point directly to our abdomen. And this isn’t necessarily wrong, it’s just incomplete, too isolated in nature and only one piece of the puzzle.

To impact your training and knowledge base today, let’s simplify and define our core as being made up of muscles of the trunk and hip.

  • Muscles of the trunk include:
    • Scapular Stabilizers, Rotator cuff and Intrinsic and Extrinsic Abdominal Muscles
  • Muscles of the hip include:
    • Gluteals, Deep Hip rotators, Hip Flexors.

We can also dig deeper and divide these into Intrinsic (muscles lying deep) and Extrinsic Muscles (muscles more superficial) groups.

  • EXTRINSIC MUSCLES: function to create a stable foundation for the arms and leg to move from and prevent unwanted movement. They provide the most gross stability because they are larger in nature and can generate/resist more force. They also work to facilitate coordination and force transfer from our limbs. Think of things like throwing, punching kicking, and sprinting. 
  • Examples of Extrinsic muscles are Latissimus Dorsi ,Rhomboids, Rectus Abdominis, Spinal Erectors and Glutes 
  • INTRINSIC MUSCLES: the function of intrinsic muscles are to create stability deep in joints at the mesh point, assist in breathing optimally in different positions and to create intra-abdominal pressure and spinal stability.
  • Examples of Intrinsic muscles are rotator cuff, diaphragm, pelvic floor, transverse abdominis, and deep hip rotators.

It’s important to note that these two subdivisions of muscles work in synergistic fashion with each other. The intrinsic muscles provide the initial pressure and internal stability that the extrinsic core builds off of to produce and resist forces necessary for simple and complex movements.

In closing, we see that our core is much more than just our abdominal muscles. It involves muscles of the trunk and hips and is comprised of deep and superficial muscles that work synergistically together to help provide an efficient and effective foundation for movement. Now that we have a clear understanding of our core musculature, in our next video we will unpack current Core Training concepts and give you some tools to expand your core training mindset beyond endless sets of planks and sit ups.