CHAPTER 1 CORE TRAINING: WHAT IT IS AND WHY IT HELPS If youwant tomove well, become strong, and retain a balanced physique, you need to train the core. As such, people toss around the term“core training” for all types of workouts. But what does it truly involve? In this chapter, we’ll answer that question andmore, illuminating the benefits of training this critical section of the body. HOWDOYOUDEFINE THE CORE? Even the scientific community has trouble answering this question. Everyone agrees that your core includes themidsection, somewhere around your abdominals, hips, and lower back. But many disagree on the exact muscles that qualify. For example, the core has been described as a cylinder between the diaphragmand pelvic floor, including those muscles, the abdominals (abs), the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus (glutes), and erector spinae (paraspinals). Other experts want to include the latissimus dorsi (lats), rhomboids, pectorals (pecs), and other muscles that connect the shoulders to the spine. Some even argue that your core continues all the way to the knees. Your core protects the spine and stabilizes the rest of the body throughout movement. Therefore, it helps control the limbs, pelvis, rib cage, and even the head and neck. It’s such a critical piece of the kinetic chain that, theoretically, multiplemuscles fit the bill. To help illuminate their function, we can categorize themuscles into local and global systems.


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