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The Diaphragms Role in Core Stabilization…Its About More than Breathing

Training Mask Research and Development

Core Muscles Overview

When we think about core stabilization we typically think about the abdominal complex and lower back muscles. In simple terms these muscles contract isometrically to brace the trunk. From an aesthetic standpoint, strong core muscles give us that ever sought after six pack look. If we examine the importance of the core muscles from a functional standpoint, they create the fulcrum of the body. A stable point by which the limbs can generate powerful or precise motions. The primary anterior (frontal) muscles that make up the core are…

  • Rectus Abdominus
  • Internal and External Obliques
  • Transverse Abdominus

The posterior muscles of the core (back of the body) are…

  • Quadratus Lumborum
  • Multifidus
  • Erector Spinae
  • Latissimus Dorsi (To a limited degree)

The functionality of the core can also be broken down into two primary categories, 1) Static Stability 2) Dynamic Stability. Static stability refers to the core muscles creating a rigid postural point. Rigid postural points are used in balance and bracing for an impact for example. Dynamic stability is a little trickier. To achieve dynamic stability, the core muscles must activate and deactivate in precise motor patterns in order to achieve fluidity of movement, and stability simultaneously. Every sport and activity has a different dynamic core stabilization element. Our core muscles must learn these recruitment patterns so that we can master each activity. There are a multitude of exercise programs and protocols that are designed to strengthen these muscles. Moreover, there are countless others that address sport specific core stabilization. But there is also an under emphasized area of core stabilization that needs to be addressed. This factor is the diaphragm’s role in this whole process. By adding elements to address this shortcoming, we can make synergistic improvements in all areas of core muscle fitness without detracting from the elements of specifity that makes targeted core muscle training effective.

The Missing Piece of the Puzzle: The Diaphragm

It was not that long ago when the diaphragm almost never even got mentioned in the discussions of core and core-stability training. There are still a substantial number of fitness and exercise experts who give advice regarding core-stabilization but completely fail to mention the diaphragm. There has however, been more frequent mentioning of diaphragm’s role in core stability along with its well-known role in breathing mechanics. In the programs that wish to make the diaphragm an element of the program, it gets mentioned as a mere footnote with little emphasis. Core stability is an inside out

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