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Strengthening and Protecting Your Core Muscles

Core muscles are more than just abs. They help support and move your spine, pelvis, rib cage, and hips.

Strong core muscles that work together help with all movements from sports to basic functions of daily life. A strong core can help prevent injuries, improve balance, and promote muscle development.

The Core Muscles

Your core is more than just your abdominal muscles. It also includes all the muscles of the lower back and shoulders, the obliques, pelvic muscles, gluteal muscles, and hamstrings. Working one or one isolated group of muscles is not enough to maximize core strength. You will need to work several muscle groups together.

Avoiding Injury

No one is ever fully safe from injury. But strong core muscles are thought to lower the risk in both sports and routine activities, like picking up a child. Weak core muscles may also be related to chronic back pain.

Avoiding injury means:

Sport-specific Training

Core strength plays a role in many sports:

Get Strong

There are many ways to strengthen your core. Talk to a certified trainer to see which is best for you and to make sure you are doing it right. Aim to work your core three times a week for at least 15 minutes or more.


American Council on Exercise

American Society of Exercise Physiologists


Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology

Health Canada


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Phillips E. Build your core muscles for a healthier, more active future. Harvard Health website. Available at: Accessed October 11, 2021.

Rethinking core training. American Council on Exercise website. Available at: Accessed October 11, 2021.

Rivera CE. Core and lumbopelvic stabilization in runners. Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am. 2016;27(1):319-337.

Last reviewed October 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board  Last Updated: 10/11/2021