WHAT IS THE DEEP CORE?
Also found described as deep core stability muscles together with the diaphragm, these are:
- Transversus Abdominis (TrA)
- Multifidus (MF)
- Pelvic Floor (PF) and Diaphragm
These muscles and surrounding structures are critical for the spine and the whole body, but so are many other parts of the body when considering posture and whole-body movement.
To group muscles in “core muscles” is pretentious when seeing the body as a whole. The parts are inseparable, tied together, synergistic and every component is having its role in your system. Yet, this classification is more for the intellectual understanding and comprehension. Old school? Yes, the structural view of segmenting the body in a sum of parts and pieces, similar to how a car works isn’t accurate enough to describe things like pain, symptomatic conditions, pathology, human experience, functional movement and integration, so the “deep core muscles” will be a group of muscles I am going to focus on not for their importance but for the importance of the Layering. Layering in manual therapy and exercise is quite important and to be mindful and respectful of the layers of the body in any therapy is critical. Some alternative therapies go to very deep layers in the body and come out of them expecting the person to integrate and be empowered. It’s not like this in many cases. I only know of Structural Integration and Deep-CORE Training, as manual therapies and training modalities that respect the layers and leave the system gradually giving power to the client to be used in this world.
Deep Core Muscles:
Transversus Abdominis (TrA):
Latin transversus, across, crosswise; abdominis, of the belly/stomach
It is the deepest muscle of the core and acts as a “corset” wrapping the spine and pelvis. The main focus on the Core Stability concept is on the TrA. See article Core Stability: Myths and Truths
Action: compresses abdomen, helping to support abdominal viscera against pull of gravity.
Basic functional movement: Important during forced expiration, sneezing and coughing. Helps maintain good posture.
Latin multi, many; findere, to split
These are very short muscles running from the transverse processes (on the sides) of one vertebra up to the spinous process of the next vertebra upwards.
Action: protects vertebral joints from movements produced by the more powerful superficial prime movers. Extension, lateral flexion, and rotation of vertebral column.
Basic functional movement: Helps maintain good posture and spinal stability during standing, sitting and all movement. Prevents flexion, lateral flexion and rotation of vertebral column.
Pelvic Floor (PF) Check the article/post on Pelvic Floor
Greek dia, across; phragma, partition, wall
The origin and insertion of this “jellyfish” shaped muscle depends on the moment of the breathing cycle (To master the diaphragm and many main and accessory muscles we highly recommend Breathe! The introduction workshop and the 1-on-1 sessions. There we thoroughly talk about the diaphragm, stress, breathing training, mindset and intention).
Action: Forms floor of thoracic cavity. Pulls its central tendon downward during inhalation, thereby increasing volume of thoracic cavity.
Basic functional movement: Produces about 60% of the breathing capacity.
To be able to work these muscles, deep layers of the body in a non-rigid way is a gift that is highly appreciated for your body. Preventing injuries, improving well-being, improving core function, sexual function, breathe, enhancing energy levels and many more. In Deep-CORE Integration we put a lot of emphasis in not training with stiffness or rigid vertebral column. Core Stability exercises are great to learn but not giving the promised results in real life when abused of. They can be useful in certain situations but in an evolution of self-knowledge and functional training, core stability exercises are not necessary anymore, as almost any movement that involves the whole body or even segmented movement requires the activation of the core. If that remains rigid, problems will occur sooner or later.
Fascial Fitness is right in many things, specially when talking about “creep”, when saying that in practical training and life, when tissues are loaded predominantly in 1 way (even if it’s the “proper one”), when moving and loading tissues in different way, there is high risk of injury and overloading tissues, either concentrically or eccentrically.