Rethinking core strength
The idea that ‘core stability’ and ‘core strength’ are an important part of physical development is pretty well-knitted into current thinking. It seems an obvious part of building a skilled body, doesn’t it. But we like to look beneath the surface - so let’s apply some scrutiny.
The term ‘core stability’ - and associated beliefs about what our bodies need - arrived in the 1990’s, growing first out of research work into lower back pain and then from the influence of some adult body conditioning techniques exploring fitness and comfort. It created the idea that certain muscles are more important than others for spine stabilisation, that a strong core is necessary for upright movement, and also that a strong core will prevent injury and reduce back pain in adults.
A whole exercise and fitness industry grew, with the focus planted firmly on the abs - those muscles at the front around our tummy. ’Planking’ and ‘abs workouts’ became popular.
And this drip feeds down into the ideas about early childhood development of course, with a focus on ‘core strength’, ’core stability’ and building particular muscles becoming more of a focus.
But recent research gives us reasons to think more widely.