A Brief Anatomy Review

There are actually a fairly large group of muscles which make up your core and they should all be worked to have optimal health and fitness. These muscles are as follows:

* erector spinae---run from the neck to the lower back
* multifidus--under the erector spinae
* hip flexors---pectineus,psoas major, rectus femoris,illiacus and sartorius
* rectus abdominus---the so-called "six pack" muscles
* external obliques---the sides of the waist and "vertical lines"
* internal obliques---under external obliques
* transverse abdominus---under obliques and surrounding the spine

The University of New Mexico professor Dr. Kravitz has some outstanding diagrams which allow you to see exactly where these are all located.
The Benefits of Proper Core Fitness

Proper training of your core muscles is much more important than just the aesthetic aspects of a flat, defined stomach. One of the most important factors is that the balanced training of your core alleviate a large amount of back pain. Sufferers of back pain know just how physically limiting it can be. Simple tasks like picking up a baby or bending over when you drop something become a challenge. Good training can relieve a large portion of back pain for many people. Another benefit is that proper training of the transverse abdominus can actually increase breathing capacity. Improved posture will yield physical benefits as well as making you look better. Of course, a great looking set of abs in and of itself is a great benefits.

Athletic performance, especially in sports which use a lot of rotational movements, will improve when your core is in peak condition. Is a faster tennis serve a goal? Perhaps you want to add more distance to your golf drive, a solid core workout will do both of those. Ask Tiger Woods, he actually does Pilates, which is a great workout both all around and for your core.
Your balance and posture will both improve with regular scheduled core training. Even if you do not play sports, you will still reap rewards. Climb a ladder around the house without fear, rescue your child's kitten when it is stuck in a tree or clean those rain gutters with confidence. Core training helps everyone, not just well-paid athletes.