Have you heard your physio, doctor, or PT talk about “the core” and have no idea what they are talking about? We hear this every day! The most common misconception we hear is that having a strong core means having a 6 pack, and this simply isn’t correct!

Let us break it down for you once and for all.  Anatomically, when we refer to “the core” we are talking about the musculature throughout your WHOLE torso, including front, back, sides, top and bottom, not just your abs at the front.  Together, these muscles are designed to provide stability as you bend, move, and exercise.

The core includes the following muscles:

  • Transverse abdominus (front/side)
  • Internal and External Obliques (side)
  • Rectus abdominus (front)
  • Multifidi and erector spinae (back)
  • Pelvic floor (bottom)
  • Diaphragm (top)


More often than not, you will hear your physio will refer to your deep core muscles…which is only includes: Transverse abdominus (front/side), Multifidi (back) and Pelvic floor (bottom).  Why is that?

These are the muscles that have been identified to play a direct role in having a healthy lower back. We now know these muscles can ‘waste’, or lose their strength and size, after an episode of lower back pain.  So over time, and chronic pain, these muscles can no longer work together to support and stabilise your body to their best ability.

So this is why you will hear us harp on about your ‘core muscles’. But believe us when we say, its not about having rock hard abs!  Your physio will often work with you to get these deep muscles ‘switching on’ when they should, and that’s much harder than it may seem.  Have you ever been told to ‘suck your tummy in’?  This is one of the most common myths to trying to turn these muscles on! To do this properly, your physio will work with you so you can feel each muscle activating, control them consciously whilst being able to breathe (trickier than it sounds), and ultimately move in normal ways! You’ll often see us using Real Time Ultra Sound to help you see each muscle switching on.  The stronger, more efficient your core, the less chance for injuries!  If you suffer lower back pain, get in touch with us today!