Chances are that if you exercise or even if you don't, you're familiar with the concept of CORE training. What you might not know is it's not just about doing crunches. Core strength is about much more than achieving a flat stomach; it's also about a healthy posture, reducing pain and performing everyday movements with ease.

The CORE refers to the musculature in the midsection of our body or trunk: abdominals, lower back muscles, oblique musculature and hips. The core represents the center of the body and is the connecting link for the transfer of energy from the upper to lower body and vice versa. It also serves as the foundation from which we derive our strength and the ability to move efficiently. Without good core strength our body is under increased stress and when we exercise, cannot perform at its peak ability.

For example, for all runners out there weakness and imbalance in the trunk muscles causes decreased running power and efficiency, as well as poor body positioning. The longer they race or run, the greater the likelihood a weak core causes other muscles to work much harder, usually resulting in pain, spasm and/or injury. The same is true for all desk jockeys who sit at the computer most of the day. Without a strong core, our bodies are not able to maintain a proper or good posture throughout the day. The result of this slumping position at the desk results in rounded, hunched shoulders, tightening of the chest musculature, and pain and spasm of the neck, shoulders and low back.

Although you may or may not be experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be beneficial to consult with a professional to make sure your exercise program is designed and suited to your personal needs. Please feel free to give us a call or come in and set up a time to consult with our Rehab Plus professionals to develop a program that is personally designed for you and your daily activities.

Jeff Kitchen is a physical therapist at Rehab Plus in Ahwatukee Foothills. Visit for more information.


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