By: Nikki Gregg, CPT
Wednesday, 17 September 2008
Nikki Gregg: Certified Personal Trainer and Stand Up Paddler Obviously by now you know that stand up paddling is an amazing full body workout, especially for your core. But, do you know exactly what your ‘core' is, what it does, and the many reasons you need it to be strong?
Your core, or power center, is what initiates and supports most movements you make and the amount of force and speed you generate. It is made up of many muscles that run along the trunk and torso that, when contracted, assist in stabilizing the spine, pelvis, and shoulder girdle. The main goal of the core is to sustain a solid foundation and transfer energy from the center of the body to the limbs.
You are only as strong as your weakest link and unfortunately, for most people, it is their core. Do you or others you know suffer from low back pain, hip or groin strains? Most likely it is because of a weak core. Also, strong arms and legs without a properly strengthened torso is an injury waiting to happen. So remember that strength must be built from the core first and then move out to your extremities.
With that said, exactly what is your core comprised of? It's not only the superficial six pack muscles that you see, or wish to see, in the mirror. There are many more muscles involved than you think. Let's take a brief look at some of the main muscles;
Rectus Abdominis- extends the length of the front of your abdomen (the ‘six pack' muscle)
Erector Spinae- group of three muscles that run along your neck and back
External Obliques- located on the side and front of the abdomen
Internal Obliques- under the external obliques and running diagonally in the opposite direction to them
Transverse Abdominis- deepest muscle of the abdominal muscles, wraps around your spine for stability and protection
Hip Flexors- group of muscles located in front of the pelvis and upper thigh
Gluteus medius and minimus- located at the side of the hip
Glueteus maximus, Hamstring group, piriformis- located at the back of the hip and upper thigh
Hip Adductors- inner thigh muscles
Multifidus- helps extend and rotate the spine, a deep muscle of the back
As you can see there are a lot more muscles involved in your core than you may have originally thought. So, now that you have the basic knowledge of what your core is and why it needs to be strong, what specific steps can you take to strengthen it? My next article will discuss some exercises you can supplement into your workout program. These moves will build up your foundation and help you remain injury free, improve posture and balance, as well as boost your performance while stand up paddling. Stay tuned....
Nikki Gregg is a Certified Personal Trainer and avid stand up paddler. Basically, she charges hard on the waves and can tell you exactly why. Visit Nikkigregg.com