- The small ‘lower back stabilising muscles’ do not have the capacity to stabilise the spine in isolation. This load is absorbed by the large erector spinae muscle, as only they can counteract gravity
- There is no specific isolation of small or large muscles, but rather an interaction of both depending on the tasks required
- You can’t switch off a muscle. Painful muscles have been shown to be less active, which over a long period of time, may result in pain and dysfunction. This, however, does not occur overnight or only to a few select muscles (e.g. multifidus and transverse abdominis)
- Claims that ‘core’ programs are better at developing strength than other methods (e.g. barbell training) have never been investigated
- Rotational training for trunk muscle development is questionable, due to potentially high forces transmitted through discs. Counter-rotation or resisting rotation is a safer alternative
We’ve all heard it, you may well have even said it, or been told it. “I think I need to strengthen my core” or “Your back pain is coming from your weak core” Exercising the core, or trunk muscles, has long been recommended to prevent injuries and even help us improve in our sports performance. This, however, has actually never really been proven. In fact, only a small correlation between trunk muscle strength and athletic performance has ever been shown. The evidence for core stability programs to assist back pain is similarly low. So, if you’ve been told you have a weak core and are a little confused with the mixed message; here are a few facts from the critical analysis of the evidence, conducted by Wirth et al (2016)!