A few days ago a client of mine asked me a really genius question, "what do you mean when you say core"? The term core often gets tossed around in fitness classes and health clubs. Many of us think of our core as just the visual 6 pack you either can, or can't see! But what muscles really make up the core? And why is it so important? When I think of the muscles that are part of your "core" and essential for a strong core, this is what comes to mind:
Rectus Abdominus: your "six pack". These muscles are responsible for spine flexion (a crunch) and are located in the front center of your abdomen as they run all the way down from your rib cage to your pubis bone.
Transverse Abdominus: are the deepest of the abdominal muscle and lie under the internal obliques. These muscles wrap around the spine for protection of the organs and for stability. *to activate exhale and pull the belly button in toward your spine, as if to brace before you are getting punched in the stomach :)
Multifidus: muscles that run along both sides of your spine. They assist in extension and rotation of the spine.
Erector Spinae Group: is made up of three long muscles running from the back of the neck down to the lower back. Action of this muscle is extension and side bending (lateral flexion). Erector Spinae plays a huge role in your core.
Obliques (Internal and External): the obliques run in opposite directions of each other along the side and front of the abdomen. They assist in the movements of tilting and twisting from the waist. The obliques are the muscles that help give you that "V-cut".
Ilisoass: or your hip flexor muscle help bring your leg toward your body. Most of us have tight hip flexors, usually from sitting all day and shortening the muscle. It is so important to stretch this muscle! If your hips are tight your tush will never be where you want it to be.
Glutius Maximus: biggest muscle in your body... your tush! Every time your leg extends (during walking, running etc.) your glutius maximus is activated. A strong booty is essential for standing up straight and good posture!
These muscles together are all essential for a strong core. So do not only focus on your 6 pack, train your back, your glutes and the sides of your body.