LOWER BACK PAIN: I see a number of people in various states of pain, and the most common by far is lower back pain. Often this can be due to tight/inflexible muscles in the lower back or hamstrings (they are very much linked), however the biggest factor is always due to weak core muscles!
So what exactly is the 'core'?
The core is the group of muscles around your trunk, encompassing not just your abs (rectus and transverse abdominis) but also your obliques (internal and external), erector spinae, multifidus and other small stabilising muscles.
Traditionally, exercise programs would focus on individual muscles (such as ab crunches, lower back extensions). However this is NOT how the core works in daily life. The major risk with this type of program is that the muscles do not learn to work as a cohesive unit. Certain muscles (such as the abs) are likely to get a lot stronger than others (such as the erector spinae and multifidus in your back). This exacerbates the lower back pain problem further.
What the core DOES is stop the body from bending forwards, backwards, sideways , and twisting around. The two major core functions are as a stabiliser for the body, and force transfer from lower to upper body. These tasks involves all the core muscles working together as one unit. And so this is how the core should be trained - as one unit.
The MOST EFFECTIVE way to train them all is with functional strength training. Done correctly, you will learn to 'activate' and 'lock' these muscles when moving heavy weights, so that all your core muscles strengthen evenly. When coupled with an effective stretching regime I have managed to reduce lower back pain in DOZENS of people. Are you potentially one of them? Give me a call to find out!!