By George Barlow
Most people have heard the phrase, “lift with your legs and not your back”. The warning makes sense, but a deeper explanation is required.
The buzz term “core” is often overused and incorrectly used. Think about the core of something: it is the equidistant center. The core is essentially the spine and all the muscles surrounding the spinal column. It runs from the base of the skull, all the way down to the sacrum or the bone connecting the hips.
The spine requires a very high level of stability. The core will stabilize and support the extremities, such as arms and legs, as they are designed to perform motions.
Ideally, a person will have strong and stable core muscles supporting the spine and pelvis. Separately, a person will have powerful and strong leg and arm muscles to perform prime movements. With movement, people will neither stabilize, nor engage prime movers due to either weakness or muscle recruitment deficiency. This creates a problem or a series of problems, because the brain is telling the body to lift this object or move this way, but there is no organization in muscle recruitment. This pattern leads to injury.
The proper way to perform power movements is to first stabilize the spine and then engage all of the muscles involved in the prime movement. This principle can be applied to any motion or power move.
With practice and technique, this concept can be integrated to the nervous system and muscle memory and lifting, squatting, walking and movement will become more efficient and decrease the risk of injury to any joint.