In the last two parts of this article series, I described what I consider to be the best core exercise, or exercises. That is, maintaining stiffness in the core while working compound movements, and working on the mobility of the joints that are required to generate force during these compound movements.
Today, I’m going to offer you the third part of what I believe will create a strong, healthy core.
It’s posture. Yes, I understand posture itself isn’t a core exercise, but correcting and maintaining healthy posture is necessary for having a strong core. Why is it so important?
I wrote a post on how spinal injuries (herniations, in particular) occur. To summarize that post, we understand that our spines, or cores, undergo a lot of force while our other joints produce movement under load (AKA, deadlift or squat). Our spines have bony segments, called vertebrae, that create a column. Between the vertebrae are disks made of membrane, collagen, fluid, and so on. They act as shock absorbers, in a sense.
When we are in a healthy, neutral posture, our spines assume a natural “S”-like curve, and the bony segments sandwich the spinal disks fairly evenly. In a rounded or over-arched posture, some of the vertebrae in our spines are tilted in one direction, shifting the “sandwiching”-pressure towards one side of the disks. When you throw a 300lb. load onto a rounded or over-arched back, the disks are further squished, and herniations occur. That is, the disks begins to either bulge out, or rupture and leak its contents into the body – just like a squished or punctured balloon.
So, how can you have a strong core if your posture gives you injuries?
Through that logic, another one of the best core exercises is to fix your posture.
Similar to mobility-work, postural-work requires massage, stretching, and strengthening. A good resource for fixing posture-related issues is mobilitywod.com, the same resource for mobility-related issues. These two aspects go hand-in-hand, and Kelly Starrett’s MobilityWOD videos sure as hell help with whatever issues one might have with their body.