Sports Injury Update – (The following article was produced for the Sturt Sabres’ bi-monthly newsletter “The Blues News”. The Physio Studio is a proud sponsor of the Sturt Basketball Club.)

The “in and outs” of core stability

We hear the term “core stability” used often. It can incorporate a range of exercise concepts and may mean a whole range of different things for different people. As a physio, the key aspect of core stability we are interested in is: are your muscles able to effectively support, and move your spine, trunk and pelvis?

We can broadly group your spine muscles into two categories:

The inner muscles (including transversus abdominis and multifidus): these deep muscles attach close to the spine and are primarily responsible for supporting and stabilising the spine, joints and tissues. Considered endurance (tonic) muscles, they are designed to be able to work gently, for a long time, to provide support throughout all our activities.

The outer muscles (including rectus abdominis “6-pack” and obliques): these longer muscles are designed to be the big, power movers (phasic) and should be strong and work well when we need to produce movement or force but should not be overactive with simple things like standing or sitting.

Altered muscle function in either of these groups may be related to increased chance of back pain and limb injuries.

In healthy subjects these groups work well in conjunction to support your spine and also allow you to perform at intensity. After injury or with altered postures, the inner muscles may “switch off”, with the body trying to use the outer muscles for those supporting tasks. This can create problems and contribute to changes in movement patterns, possibly placing more stress on tissues.

Pilates or fit-ball exercises can be used to train these inner and outer muscles but as with any exercise, to be effective they need to be performed correctly. See your physio to find out what you could be doing in your preventative program or to help get over those recurrent pains.