How Improving Core Strength Can Affect Overall Orthopedic Health

Summit Orthopedics physical therapist Kyle Hall, DPT, physical therapy site lead for Summit’s Vadnais Heights location, discusses the relationship between core strength and overall orthopedic health.

What is the core, and why is it important?

“Core” is a catchall term for several muscle groups around the midsection. They include your abdominal muscles, deep abdominal muscles, glutes, back extensors, and scapular stabilizers.

“Better core strength improves your balance and stability, said Summit Orthopedics physical therapist Kyle Hall, DPT, physical therapy site lead for Summit’s Vadnais Heights location. “A strong core helps prevent injury, reduces back pain, improves posture, and can improve pelvic health.”

A strong core is also important for athletes, no matter which sport they play. “Core strength makes you more symmetrical, so you can run faster and jump higher,” Hall said.

How do I know if I have a weak core?

Some of the body’s core muscles are difficult to engage because they are so deep within the torso. Signs of poor core strength include bad posture, trouble standing for long periods of time, and back pain. Lack of strength in the glutes can lead to leg and ankle pain, and poor scapular strength can affect the arms.

If any of this sounds like you, don’t worry. “Ten to 15 minutes of core-strengthening exercise three to five times a week can make a big difference to your health, from your back and legs to your pelvis and arms,” Hall said.

Recommended core-strengthening exercises

Yoga and Pilates are both good core-strengthening activities. Hall also recommends several core-strengthening exercises. You can look these exercises up by name on YouTube or online, where you’ll be able to find free video tutorials. Recommended core-strengthening exercises include:

  • Transverse abdominal set — pulling your belly button toward your spine
  • The “dead bug” — lying on your back, then reaching up with your opposite arm and leg
  • Bridges — lying on your back, then pushing up to rest on your hands and feet
  • Bicycle — lying on your back and pedaling your legs
  • Bird dog — starting on all fours, then reaching opposite arm and leg out
  • Planks — holding a “pushup” position; Hall recommends that those new to planks start with a modified plank position on your knees
  • Russian twist — rotating your torso from side to side holding a ball
  • Squats — standing with feet shoulder-width apart, then bending at the knee as if you’re about to sit in a chair

If you want some extra guidance with your core-strengthening routine, or for more ideas and exercises to try, Hall recommends scheduling an appointment with a physical therapist, who can help.

Summit Orthopedics supports healthy lifestyles

Community health flourishes when specialized orthopedic care is conveniently available close to home. Summit Orthopedics is proud of our fellowship-trained subspecialty teams offering the full spectrum of orthopedic expertise in bone, tendon, ligament, muscle, and joint conditions. We have the expertise to proactively improve fitness, evaluate discomfort, and deliver personalized treatment to quickly and safely return you to the lifestyle you love.

Start your journey to a healthier, more active self. Find your orthopedic expert, request an appointment online, or call us at (651) 968–5201 to schedule a consultation.

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