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The Deep Core: Part 1

Imagine building a house. You enlist the best architect to put your vision down on paper and get the help of engineers and builders to assist you in putting your project together. You would expect a normal sequence of events to occur that most houses would go through when being built. Planning, design, clearing land, laying the foundation and so on all occur one after the other until your home is complete.

What would happen then, if the bricklayers turned up before the foundation was laid? This would be an obvious fault in the sequence of events and the house would surely fail.

What does this have to do with the core? Well the same is true for human movement. All movements should follow a set sequence to be performed correctly. From the motor cortex planning movement in your brain to the feedback you receive after the movement is complete, a sequence or pattern of muscle activation is followed. This is called the core to extremity principle. When performing movement and exercise in the correct fashion, whether for performance or rehabilitation following injury, the deep core is where movement can often breakdown.

Your “deep core” is generally described as a group of muscles which are the deepest and most important stabilisers. Your deep core consists of:

- - Pelvic floor muscles

- - Diaphragm

- - Transverse abdominus

- - Multifitus


These muscles are generally the first to fire and work to stabilise when performing any movement. They stabilise the entire spine, the pelvis and the head.

Why is this important? Well if they don’t, other muscle groups will kick in to “compensate” for lack of deep stabilisation. These other muscles can be the source of ongoing issues like “tightness” in the back or neck and dysfunctional movement in the hips and shoulders, leading to overuse, injury or just muscle pain and tightness. If you are experiencing some of these symptoms it is likely your deep core is not functioning correctly and could be the source of your troubles.

In Part 2, I will introduce a quick an easy self assessment to see if your deep core musculature is firing like it should be. Stay tuned for more!

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