Stabilize Yourself: How Spinal Stability Helps You Keep Fit

Today’s guest post is from WFCC Promenade personal trainer Heather Chapman B-HK (MS)-(H), CK, PTS, KTC-l1. Heather specializes in helping women develop the strength and motivation necessary to bring their fitness to the next level. If you want to work with Heather, check out her bio on our website, send her an email or call Promenade reception to book an appointment!

We hear a lot of talk about “core work”. But the thing is, your “core” is a lot more than you think.

Your core not just your abdominal muscles: if it were, your core wouldn’t support your posterior aspect or the base of your spine. Rather, the core is a larger group of muscles that keeps you upright and stable, and it includes the muscles responsible for spinal stability. Building strength in the muscles that ensure spinal stability is key injury prevention, and to recovering from a spinal injury if it happens.

You need torso strength and core strength to create a balance between all of the muscles that stabilize the spine to ensure that you move with maximal strength and minimal energy expenditure. Ultimately, the key to a strong core and a stable spine is a balance between flexibility, strength & joint mobility.

Key Muscles for Spinal Stability:

  • Transverse abdominus: this muscle braces and stabilizes the spine.
  • Rectus abdominus & internal/external obliques: these support anterior and lateral (back and side) aspects of the spine.
  • Latisimus Dorsi: these are also known as your “lats”, and are the broadest muscles in the back. Weakness here can cause an imbalance between the front and back of your spine and can lead to kyphosis, otherwise known as hunchback.
  • Multifidus: this is your deep spine muscle. It spans three joint segments, and works to stabilize the joints at each segmental level.
  • Gluteus maximus, or “glutes”: this is your base of support for your spine.

Key exercises for spinal stability include the plank (front and side, along with variations with rotation), lat pull downs or pull ups, and hip elevation/bridge exercises.

If you’re interested in improving your spinal stability and you’d like to work with Heather, just send her an email or call our Promenade location to book a session!