‘Core Stability’ has been a buzzphrase over the last 20 years or so after Hodges and Richardson’s original research that brought core Stability, activation and transversus abdominus, to the mass psyche of therapist, trainers and layman alike. What is interesting, and something that the fitness and health community has failed to acknowledge on a wide enough scale, is that Hodges has since refuted the initial research made in the mid 90’s. Hodges has authored his own research since, confirming that his original hypothesis regarding core stability was fatally flawed, and in fact does not relate to ‘curing’ low back pain as was originally claimed.
However, the issue of abdominal ‘coordination’, not ‘stabilization’, is still a key concept in the management of lower back and performance, tying in with the topic title of ‘core instability’. The entire body, including the lower back, relies on functioning abdominals. The abdominals are a key part of the human body’s powerhouse that helps us to generate force, create momentum and produce movement for everyday life and for sports performance. A functionally strong and coordinated abdominal group can provide the kind of support required for wide ranging injuries from the lower back pain to shoulder. All of our movement is 3 dimensional, utilizing muscles and joints in all 3 planes of motion for even the most basic tasks. It is therefore key for us to be trained and recoordinated in order to cope with the demands of 3 dimensional movement. Linear or 2 dimensional ‘stabilising’ exercfises that restricts our movements such as a plank or drawing the belly button in and only bending at the knees to pick something up from the floor, are shown to not have statistically beneficial improvements in the treatment of low back pain, so we must look at other ways to improve the instability issues associated with the lower back.
Remember, we move in 3 dimensions, so we must be coordinated and have good movement strategies in order to cope with the 3 dimensional demands of life!