It seems like every gym class, fitness magazine and more infomercials than can be counted talk about how to strengthen the body's core muscles. But what is core strength and why does it matter? Core strength training focuses on the muscles in the abdomen, hips, back and chest. Competitive athletes and everyday exercisers both can benefit from core strength training.
In everyday activities and exercise, balance and stability matter. Core strength training improves both. Core strength training not only works the muscles in the hips, abdomen and back, it also trains them to all work and function together. It builds coordination between these muscles, and as the Mayo Clinic writes, these muscles working together balances and stabilizes your body.
Even Things Out
Most physical activities overwork certain muscles and under-work others. This leads to muscular imbalances--a potential source of injury. The American Council on Exercise writes that most people have a strength imbalance between the lower back and abs. Core strength exercises help to build even strength throughout the core and reduce these types of muscular imbalances.
Use the Force
A strong core improves sports performance. Jason Brumitt, a physical therapist and certified strength and conditioning coach, writes in the National Association of Strength and Conditioning Coaches Performance Journal that a strong core helps transfer force to and from the body's extremities. Throwing a baseball, swinging a golf club and easy jogging all require force generated in one part of the body to move to another. Brumitt says strong core muscles help that force move as efficiently as possible so that athletes and exercises can perform their best.