What Is The Core

When we hear the word ‘core’, we associate it with something of great importance.  It’s the central part of a far larger body.

It binds together the various components in a structure, allowing it to function properly.

Image of the inner core
Inner Core – click to enlarge

‘The Core’, in relation to human anatomy, refers specifically to the middle part of the body. The torso. The trunk.

The core muscles are contained within the diaphragm, which separates the chest cavity organs from the abdominal cavity organs directly below, and the pelvic floor muscles right at the bottom.

I like to think of the diaphragm as a canopy, with the pelvic floor as a kind of hammock holding up the pelvic organs.

In terms of whole-body stability, movement and balance, there is much more to the core, of course, like the spine and the torso, as well as the minor core muscles, and connective tissue, etc.

The muscular components within our core help stabilise our whole-body movements.

A list of all the muscles of the core
Muscles of the Core

This site focuses on major core muscles.

But we will also touch upon other parts of human anatomy and physiology (i.e. parts of the body and how they do what they do, in plain English, ha-ha) in relation to the core as content within the site grows, so please stay tuned!

an image of the outer core
Outer Core – click to enlarge

Thank you for reading and see you again very soon!


16 thoughts on “What Is The Core”

  1. Hi Jacquie, thank you for this simple and very informative post about the core. It is a subject very relevant to me at the moment after some chiropractic treatment advising me to activate my core before I partake in the heavy lifting involved in my work. I am way more aware of my core now and I’m activating it not just prior to lifting but throughout the day to correct my posture. It’s having a very positive effect on my energy levels and general wellbeing of my body. It was really to good to read your post and get the details of all the muscles involved in the core, thanks again! Do you have any core specific exercises that you could recommend?
    All the very best to you,

    1. Hi Nathan,

      Thanks for appreciating my post.

      Being aware of your core and posture is a great step. With regard to core specific exercises, I can only make suggestions of the programs I’ve used, as I’m currently not qualified to offer exercises (working on that though :-)). Have a look at Fit2B and The Tummy Team.

      I’m currently in the process of adding to my resources page, and I’m also working on a couple of reviews – a slow work in progress! But please do check back, as I will be adding more in the near future!

  2. Hi, Jacquie! Thanks for such an informative article on what exactly the core is.

    I always thought that, when people referred to their core, they were referring to the main stomach muscle. I see now that one’s core consists of many muscles not just the one.

    I also understand now why it’s so important to have a strong core because it supports so many other parts of the body.

    Do you think having a weak core can contribute to illness not just muscle and back problems?

    1. Hi Barb, thank you!

      Oh yes, having a weak core can contribute to other issues, such a joint pain, hernia, pelvic organ prolapse, digestive issues, incontinence issues. The great news however, is that this is all reversible with core rehabilitation.

      Hope this helps!

  3. I found your explanation of the “core” easy to understand. We hear soo much about Core training but a lot of people are not sure of what it really is.
    Many full body exercise is great to create a strong core. Pushups is one for example.
    I am looking forward to read more and to hear about some other great core exercises.
    Thanks for a good post.

  4. Strengthening the core via situps has always been a challenge, but have learned there are other ways besides situps to engage the core like planks, hip bridges, mountain climbers, and pikes. It’s amazing how our different muscles work together to keep us healthy and mobile. In all our exercise efforts we can’t forget the core.

    1. Oh Jen, I know sit ups and planks, but the rest of the exercises you mention are new to me, aha!

      And yes, the core ought to be well taken care of – in the right way.

      As a rule of thumb, all exercises, done with correct cueing and core engagement is safe and can prevent and/or help fix DR. The common cueing, ‘belly to spine’ however, is actually thought to do more damage than good for core muscles.

      Unfortunately, many abdominal exercises train the outer core muscles more, while the inner core muscles, the stabilising muscles are neglected. Many people exert so much effort while pushing outwards of the abdominal cavity (as with planks and sit ups), leading to strains on structures such as the Linea Alba, leading to issues such as DR. The research is fascinating, and fitness coaches will be catching on soon, hopefully!

      Thanks for your input!

  5. Nice post Jacquie, you really highlight well what the core is and how you improve the ability of the core muscles – this goes without saying really but would you agree that martial arts is great for developing a very good core strength in a person? As a martial artist myself this is a common known thing by people who train seriously in the arts for a prolonged period of time.

    Thanks a lot for sharing this highly intellectual post i will be passing this on to any of my friends who are looking fr some training support!

    1. Hello Marley, thanks for visiting, and for your kind words.

      Martial arts, as with all other sport can be great for developing good core strength – but the caveat is that with all movement, the core muscles need to be correctly called upon, and activated or else there is the risk of injury. This applies to martial arts as well. Diastasis recti persists amongst athletes (all genders), making them the second largest DR group, after pregnant and postpartum women.

      Often worth giving oneself a check – the more people know, the more awareness spreads, the more we tackle the issue, restoring optimum bodily functions.

  6. Hey there! I keep hearing the word core when I go to the gym to workout. The only thing I know about it is that it’s part of our body where it makes our body stabilize. I read your article and I found it very informative and interesting. Even though it is a short article I learned a lot of things about core. Thank you for sharing this information.

  7. Hello,
    I think this page will be helpful for any students who need to do assignments about this. It is simple and it gets straight to the point.
    Thank you

  8. Very informative! I never knew the core muscles were contained in the diaphragm and I took anatomy in college so I don’t know how that fact went over my head lol. Great article! Very easy to understand and follow 🙂

  9. Hello and thanks for sharing about the core. The human body is so complex with all of its cells and vital organs that it is just so mind blowing. Even in the medical profession doctors are still amazed as to what the body can do. Thanks for explaining the core because I heard of this a few times but did not know what it was. Your post is a great help.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Norman.

      Yes, the human body is a complex work of art that does so much more than we currently understand.

      Glad the post was of use to you.

  10. Hello and thanks for sharing about the core. The human body is so complex with all of its cells and vital organs that it is just so mind blowing. Even in the medical profession doctors are still amazed as to what the body can do. Thanks for explaining the core because I heard of this a few times but did not know what it was. Your post is a great help.

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