Wednesday, July 1, 2009

How a Strong Core Supports a Healthy Back

A few months ago I talked about how core training is an integral part of whole-body strength and functioning:

More specifically, having a strong supple core supports your back muscles, which helps to prevent and heal back injury and ensure a strong healthy spine.

Last week I brought up the concept of oppositional muscle groups. In all sets of oppositional muscles, there is an agonist (the muscle group that is in charge of moving a body part) and an antagonist (the one that resists movement). Lower back muscles and abdominal muscles respond to each other like this. When the abdominal muscles contract (shorten), the low back muscles relax (lengthen)

In training, we work to bring these sets of muscles into balance, by strengthening and empowering the core belly muscles so that they do their share of the work. This allows back muscles to relax and stretch, increasing the length and height of your spine, making you taller and, more importantly, decreasing the risk of injury.

You can bring awareness into your core in little ways by remembering to engage your belly while walking, standing, and even while simply sitting. This gentle, consistent toning will encourage your belly muscles to step up and support proper posture, allowing your back to relax a bit.

Lark Miller
phone: 415.250.5236

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