Core stability or trunk stabilization is the trendy buzz word of the day, but it's something that physical therapists have used for decades in rehabilitation of spinal conditions and injuries. Physical therapists have known the importance of multifidus and transversus abdominus and used exercise ball exercises in their clinics for over 30 years.
Like many areas that remain undeveloped in bodybuilders and weightlifters, if they're out of sight, they're out of mind. The stabilizing musculature of the body lies deep beneath the glamorous one's they like to display.
Stability does not just mean strength. I have treated many bodybuilders, professional and amateur athletes, and weekend warriors with low back pain. The strongest weight lifters and body builders can have huge abdominal musculature and yet have a functionally unstable spine, resulting in back pain. People either don't know about them, don't know how to activate them, or don't care, until they are injured.
The transversus abdominus, multifidus, rotatores, pelvic floor muscles and the diaphragm all work to stabilize the spine to provide a platform for strong dynamic limb movements. Yoga, Pilates, exercise balls, tai bo, etc. all target core strength using rapidly changing acceleration and momentum.
The endurance of abdominal and paravertebral muscles is important as it serves to maintain core stability over a prolonged period of time against moderate resistance. This serves to ensure dynamic stability of the joints during movements of the extremities. Dynamic stability is the ability to maintain the joint surfaces within the physiological limits of its surrounding structures (capsule lig. etc) when movement is taking place either in the trunk or the extremities. Dynamic instability resulting from insufficient strength or endurance of stabilizing muscles and may cause abnormal shearing movements and stresses to occur which cause degenerative changes within the joint complexes of the spine. These degenerative changes initially manifesting as hypermobility or instability may progress to multilevel spondylosis or arthritis if left untreated.
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