Is Core Stability Just a Myth?
For a few decades now, the terminology “core stability” has been accepted as synonymous to good health. It is common knowledge that optimal core stability resolves low back pain and increases performance. A whole industry grew out of this stability model with gyms and clinics teaching the “abdominal hollowing” or “trunk bracing” exercises to prevent or treat low back pain. The question is though, is core stability for real or is it just a myth that has developed into a life of its own?
During the 1990’s the term “core stability” became popular through the studies on trunk muscle onset timing in back injury and chronic low back pain. However, these findings combined with the general belief about the importance of strong abdominals to create a strong back as well as the influences from Pilates have promoted several assumptions prevalent in core stability training:
- Certain muscles are more important for stabilization of the spine, in particular the transverse abdominis (TrA).
- Weak abdominal muscles lead to back pain.
- Strengthening abdominal or trunk muscles can reduce back pain.
- There is a unique group of “core” muscles working interdependently of other trunk muscles.
- A strong core will prevent injury.
- There is a relationship between stability and back pain.