Peak Performance: Core Strength

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Published on: April 10, 2019

Peak Performance: Core Strength

Why is core strength important?

The core is more than just your abs; it refers to all the muscles that stabilize and move the shoulder blades, trunk, pelvis, and hips. A strong core allows the body to move more efficiently and safely. It also reduces back pain, improves athletic performance, and corrects postural imbalances. Core-strengthening exercises support or move body weight in a particular position or in multiple planes of movement.

What are the core muscles?

  • Rectus abdominis: The most well-known abdominal muscle: the “six pack.”
  • External and internal oblique: Support the abdomen and rotate and bend the trunk side to side.
  • Transverse abdominis: Stabilizes the lower back and pelvis and surrounds the core like a corset.
  • Erector spinae: A group of vertical back muscles that support, rotate, and bend the trunk.
  • Hip and pelvic muscles: A group of lower-body muscles (including the hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps) that stabilize the hips, flex and extend the legs and back, and move the legs toward and away from the body.

What are core exercises?

  • plank
  • push-ups
  • step-ups with hip flexion
  • V sit-up
  • superman
  • squat
  • lunges
  • bridge

USU (Uniformed Services University) and CHAMP (Consortium for Health and Military Performance).

Produced by CHAMP, a Defense Center of Excellence, for the Human Pereformance Resource Center (

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