To really strengthen your core properly, it is incredibly helpful to understand what muscles make up the core. Most know of the muscle that makes up the coveted “six-pack,” and many know of the obliques, but…what else is there?

Inner Core - Pop Can - Bethany PTThink of your INNER CORE as a pop can, and all of these muscles work together to give your trunk stability during movements of the head, arms, and legs.

  • The top of the pop can is made of your diaphragm, which is the primary muscle in breathing
  • The back of the pop can is made of some little spinal muscles called multifidus
  • The sides and front of the pop can are made up of the transverse abdominis
  • The bottom of the pop can is the pelvic floor muscles, or your Kegel muscles

Your OUTER CORE (not shown here) is made of the rectus abdominis “six-pack” muscle — yes, they are still there — and your obliques (or side crunch muscles), whose job it is to give your trunk movement.

If your core isn’t trained well, especially your inner core / stabilizers, you could go to do some sort of movement (a job normally for your outer core), and your inner core (for stabilizing) may try to get involved in movement instead, leaving no one to stabilize you!

Another problem can occur when in the latter months of pregnancy. Similar to how a pop can get over-pressurized in the freezer, a growing baby can really put pressure on the core, low back, diaphragm, and various nerves, causing all sorts of discomfort and even a few potentially serious problems. This is the reason why many women in the last months of pregnancy experience changes in breathing, back pain, and/or incontinence, and sit-ups alone will not be enough to strengthen the inner core in order to fix or prevent these problems.

Luckily, the inner core can be strengthened! Check out our articles on simple ways to strengthen your pelvic floor and strengthen your transverse abdominis to really bring stability and reliability to your inner core!