Core Training: Help Me Find My Core!

by | May 4, 2012 | Functional Movement | 3 comments

Getting Started with Functional Fitness

Ever Wonder Which Muscles Really Should Be Working to “Use Your Core” for Improved Functional Fitness?

Discover the true “Core” muscles and begin incorporating more exercises into your workouts to find & strengthen your core.  Help reduce back pain, improve posture,  strength, mobility, and support to enhance sports performance, and enjoy a healthy, active life.

Improving posture and body support for healthy movement and “Core Training” becomes the buzz word to get the job done.  So many people are under the false illusion that if they just lay on the mat and crank their head and shoulders off the floor by pulling with their arms, that they are effectively strengthening their abs.  And if the arms aren’t doing all the work, chances are the Quads are kicking in, pelvis is tucking, legs are pushing, Glutes are squeezing tight tilting the pelvis and jamming the hips up closer to the ribcage closing the space needed to really train the core to support the length of the torso and achieve true Core strength.

Core Training Isn’t Just About Ab Work!

The Abdominal muscles are only a piece of the equation!  I continually hear people rant about core training, yet they only work on the Abs, and generally focus on the crunching/curling action of the Rectus Abdominis.  Honestly, this is the very last muscle that needs to get worked, and in my opinion is the least relevant to really improving Core support.  If people spent less time doing “crunches” and more time working ALL the true Core muscles on every exercise they do – there would be a lot more strong, healthy Cores, and much less back pain out there in the world.

Functional Fitness Starts with a Strong and Healthy Core!

The Muscles That ARE Our Core

Think of the Core like a box.  The floor of the Core is the Pelvic Floor.  The top of the Core is the Diaphragm.  In the Front we’ve got the Transverse Abs, Internal & External Obliques, and Rectus Abdominis.  In the back it’s the Erector Spinae muscles, and Multifidus.

ALL of these muscle groups need to be trained for effective Core strengthening.  First to work for support and stabilization of the spine.  Then to work and release as appropriate for functional movement of the spine.


If you’ve ever wondered why your back hurts, and you’ve been doing a million crunches…chances are there are parts of your Core that are not functioning properly during your exercises!  You may not even realize that some of these muscles exist, much less have the ability to fire them at will!

Which Muscles Need to Be Worked To Improve Core Strength?

Exercises for ALL of the Core Muscles should be incorporated into your strength training workouts.  (Pelvic Floor, Diaphragm, Transverse Abs, Internal & External Obliques, Rectus Abdominis, Erector Spinae and Multifidus.) Use of these muscles should also be practiced throughout the day to reinforce maintaining proper core support for sport, recreation, and daily life activities.  Each muscle group can be focused on individually, and most exercises you do will require a combination of multiple Core muscles engaging together to provide and maintain appropriate support to keep you safe and injury-free. 

If you’re not sure how to find, or use all the muscles of your Core, assume that you’re not optimizing your efforts during your workouts – yet, and probably not using enough good Core support throughout the day.  But here’s the good news…it’s never too late!

Becoming more aware of where your Core muscles are, how to use them, and starting to incorporate more Core training exercise time into your workouts can help you strengthen your core support to improve your health, stay safe, and avoid chronic pain, and nagging injuries. 

Start taking positive steps to strengthen ALL the muscles of your Core.  Find your Core and discover how much more you will have the strength, power, and control to achieve for improved fitness and whole-body health.


Pilates Matwork can be a great way to focus on improved Core Training!

For easy-to-follow Pilates Audio CD/MP3 workouts, checkout the Basic, Beginner-Intermediate, Intermediate, and Magic Circle Pilates Matwork Workouts with Aliesa George & Centerworks®.


Aliesa George: Over the past three decades, Aliesa George has helped assist people with their personal health journeys by sharing, teaching, and developing Pilates, Foot Fitness, and other Mind-Body programs.


  1. Phil Tucker

    Excellent points. What most people don’t realize is that your abs need to work off of something, that they are a lever that needs a strong foundation. Which is why working your lower back can be even more important than working your core, as that provides the counterbalance to your ab strength and takes your core to the next level.

    • Aliesa George

      Hi Phil!
      OH how I agree. It’s all about levers & pulleys, without an anchor point/opposing muscle, open joints and good functional movement is impossible. Thanks for your comments!

  2. Angie

    Just had my home gym built by Backyard Rooms! Cant wait to get started on these core solutions. Great Article btw!



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