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The Functional Core

The past month has very busy at our clinic as well as summer events that we are involved with. Not only are our staff now trained to use Dry Needling in our clinic, which involved some intensive training with a great training provider called Club Physio but we have been out in the field working with athletes at events such as The Forces March which is 5 marathon distances over 5 days.

We also have a ex patient and athlete who's charity is supported by Revolution Sports Injuries Clinic currently cycling across the USA for a charity called Sea2Sea. More on these great events and athletes in my later blogs.

This month's article is going to look at the major muscles of the core, the principals of how the core works and the forces that are exerted on the structures around it.

The Muscles:

The local stabilizing muscles:

  • Transverse abdominis (TVA)
  • Multifidis
  • Diaphragm
  • Muscles of the pelvic floor

We will be focusing on the TVA and Multifidus muscles as they are specifically related to posture and the imbalances can be easily be detected.

Transverse Abdominis (TVA)

This is the deepest abdominal muscle. Its origins are the iliac crest, inguinal ligament, lumbar fascia and cartilages of the inferior 6 ribs. It inserts on to the xiphoid process, linea alba and pubis.

This muscle is the bodies natural weight belt and is responsible for drawing in the abdominal wall. This muscle is key to the stabilization of the core. Richardson et al. (1999) found people without back pain TVA fired 30milliseconds prior to shoulder movement and 110 milliseconds prior to leg movement. This shows that the TVA has a feed-forward role and activates prior to limb movement stopping the spine from being exposed to vulnerable forces.


This is the largest and most medial of all the lumbar muscles. It fibers are centered on each of the spinous processes, from here fibers radiate inferiorly to the transverse processes of the vertebra 2,3,4 or 5 levels below.

Multifidus is key in the production of extension forces, which are essential in the stabilization of the lumbar spine during flexion as well as combating shear forces that maybe applied.

Richards et al. (1999) identified that the TVA and Multifidus muscles are vital stabilizers to the lumbar spine and dysfunction can lead to injury. This is due to the fact that both attach with the thoracolumbar fascia to create a cradle to protect the back from injury.

The Global stabilizing muscles:

  • Rectus abdominis
  • Internal and external oblique’s
  • Quadratus Lumborum

These muscles are responsible for the movement of the core.

If you can imagine, when the core works in harmony your local stabilizing muscles fire prior to limb movement and stabilize the spine then the global stabilizers fire to provide movement of the whole torso.

It is due to this system that athletes and coaches talk about the importance of the core. All movements whether it be kicking, running, throwing, tackling, skiing or skating utilizes the core to develop power as well as to provide balance.

I hope this has provided you with an overview of the core muscles and their purposes. Next month I will discuss the injuries and pain associated with imbalances and muscles firing correctly. In the meantime if you have any questions please feel free to drop me an email or catch up with me when you see me around the gym.

Have a great month,

Adam Dobson - Revolution Sports Injuries

Adam Dobson started Revolution Health after finishing  a BSc (hons) degree in Sports Therapy at the University of Chichester

Revolution Sports Injuries Clinic Wantage

Grove Rugby Football Club, Recreation Lane, Grove, OX12 0FL
T: 07827 324789

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