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Perfecting the Alignment of Your Spine and Core Muscles

Posted Mar 17 2010 12:00am

Your core is extremely important – so important that the word “core” has become somewhat of a catch phrase in today’s fitness society. Core training is used nowadays as the focus of group exercise classes, 30 minute workout routines, and garners an entire niche in resistance training.

As a unit, the “core” refers to all of the muscles from your hips to your rib cage, front to back. The transverse abdominals, multifidus, internal and external obliques, rectus abdominus, and erector spinae (lower back). The latissimus dorsi, glutes, and trapezius are secondary core muscles.

Of course, having a strong core usually means you are sporting defined abdominals and a rock-hard back. When you have a strong core you feel impervious to injury. You can squat and deadlift without a belt, and you can generate incredible intra-abdominal pressure for exercises like power clean, snatch, military press, and bench press, which require a solid base and a neutral spine for optimal performance.

What you probably didn’t know, is that if you have a strong core you could be building a muscular imbalance that could one day detonate like a bomb (figuratively speaking), leaving you with unbearable hip or lower back pain, and could impair your ability to perform any compound or Olympic lifts.

Why am I saying this?

Because you might be training your core with such ferocity, that you are failing to acknowledge a nagging tightness or soreness, which may come and go, but could worsen over time, leaving you in lots of pain and unable to exercise. This is your chance to think twice about your core training, making sure that your form and alignment is perfect.

Why is this happening to you?

Because you might be exercising with improper balance and alignment. Yes, it is that simple. The problem is that unless you have a good understanding of physiology and bio-mechanics, you might not be aware that anything needs adjusting.

Rather than explain it all to you with words and pictures, I went out and found this sweet video in which the Fitness Guru explains everything you need to know about proper alignment of the spine.

I think this clip is an excerpt from some pilates video, but for you men who think you are too cool for pilates and yoga: shame on you! There are very important lessons to be learned from both pilates and yoga; both disciplines can help keep your body healthy and balanced, and can be just as important as MMA training, max efforts, HIIT workouts, or whatever your chosen specialty is.

Just open your mind and let the Fitness Guru fix your spine.

YouTube Preview Image

When you are done with that, you can go ahead and try of these very basic core exercises.

If you think you are a big shot (like me), then these exercises are not tough enough for you. In that case, you should read up on the Top 10 Best Abdominal Exercises and create your own core training routine.

If that’s still not enough, you should try this HIRT routine for core training: a 40 minute ab circuit .

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