Strength is a funny thing. Just because someone looks strong doesn’t mean their muscles know how to fire in the right neuromuscular order. There are muscles that need to have pre-anticipatory ability to fire so everything else can be safe and efficient in the system. For a sport like Crossfit that incorporates heavy weights and speed, these principles are even more important.
Four key muscle elements must exist for the core to have the strength and power it needs. They need to know how to anticipate that movement is coming and set the core up for success. These muscle groups are the diaphragm muscle on top of the canister, the pelvic floor on the bottom, the transverse abdominus in the front of the canister and in the back, the multifidi muscles.
These muscles are the core muscles. They must be in balance. They need to know their job. They are the first muscles to misfire when there is an injury, trauma or swelling to an area. If one set gets off in its signaling, the others can as well. That’s when dysfunction occurs, when muscles forget their job. When it happens for a prolonged period of time, other injuries can occur.
Crossfit Core Wod: The Ultimate Core Muscles List
The muscle that you need for your core to work optimally are:
1) Diaphragm: This muscle is a dome shaped partition that separates the thorax from the abdominal cavity. It is responsible for our breathing mechanism and it works by increasing the thorax capacity and thereby inflating the lungs. It works in concert with the pelvic floor. When you breath in the diaphragm moves down and as you exhale the diaphragm moves up.
2) Pelvic Floor: 14 muscles that are in layers in a bowl like structure in the pelvic girdle. These muscles support all of your internal organs, and the pelvic floor moves up and down with each breath you take. As you breath in, the floor goes down, as you breath out, the floor goes up.
3) Transverse Abdominus: This muscle is the deepest of all the abdominal muscles. It is often called the corset muscle. It acts the stabilize the anterior canister. It needs to be the first abdominal muscle to fire with any trunk work.
4) Back Multifidi: This group of muscles is one of the smallest but most powerful and it runs from your spinous process on your vertebrae to the transverse process of next vertebrae. They extend and rotate the back on a segmental level. They create spinal stability and decrease the likelihood of degeneration at the joints and discs. They work together with the transverse abdominus to stabilize the trunk. When the transverse abdominus fires, the multifidi should know how to fire together with it.
These four muscle groups allow for you to have a strong powerful base to work off of and that is what a good core should be have. Before you work and train for heavy loads make sure these muscles know their job and if they don’t, turn them on so they do. Engage your brain, to engage your core
Sheree DiBiase, PT is the founder and president of Lake City Physical Therapy. Sheree has been a physical therapist for 33+, a clinic owner for 28+ years and worked as an adjunct professor at Loma Linda University’s School of Allied Health Professions for 7 years. Currently she is doing research on pelvic floor health and its relationship with postpartum and intense exercise. She and her staff help the community reclaim their health at their three physical therapy clinics: Coeur d alene – (208) 667-1988 | Hayden, ID – (208)762-2100 | Spokane Valley (509)891-2623.