11/3/14 O&A With Christopher Crawford: Fitness- Core Essentials for Exercise

By Christopher Crawford


Many people exercise to get in shape and feel better about themselves. Unfortunately, just because they are working out that does not mean they are building better, stronger and fully functional bodies. There are many people that build more imbalances in their body by working out with incorrect form or by using machines that require no core stabilization, which basically shuts off the core muscles. Training improperly and weakening your core will lead to bad posture, inability to perform functional movements and potential injury being that the core is not stabilized.

Believe it or not, the core does not only include the abdominal muscles, it actually refers to the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex, which consists of the abdominals, lumbar spine (lower back), hip flexors and glutes. Imbalances in the core have huge affects on the way the body moves and even stands erect.


For example, there are several different types of bad posture that are caused by instabilities in the core.


One example is a hyperlordotic posture, which is caused by tightness in the lumbar spine and hip flexors and inactivity in the abdominals and glutes.


Furthermore, the squat exercise, which is a basic movement pattern that is similar to sitting, can be difficult for someone to perform if they have imbalances in the core. These instabilities within the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex may be attributed to several causes. Due to sitting, the abdominals and glutes will be inactive which will make it difficult to balance on the descent of the squat.


Also, performing a lot of seated leg extension exercises and not stretching out the quadriceps muscles, one of which is the rectus femoris, which connects from the hip to the knee will contribute to improper squat form. Also, by not stretching the rectus femoris, the hip flexors will become overactive due to being in a hip flexion position (seated) while performing the leg extension exercise, also contributing to tightness in the lumbar spine and creating an excessive forward lean during the squatting motion.

In order to fix these imbalances within the lumbo-pelvic-hip region, a self-myofascial release, stretching, corrective exercises and integrated movements must be performed consistently. For tightness in the hip flexors and the lumbar spine, and inactivity in the abdominals and glutes, there are several steps to lengthen and strengthen these muscles:

1. Foam roll and stretch the hip flexors and quadriceps

2. Stretch the lumbar spine

3. Activate and strengthen the abdominals and glutes by performing

 Untitled                      the plank                                glute bridge

4. Perform an integrated movement such as a lunge to feel the glutes working during hip extension and the abdominals working to balance during the descent

If this procedure is performed consistently, you will see and feel a difference in your posture and in your ability to perform a proper squat.

It is important to not only workout but to have a well thought out plan that will get you the results you desire in the most efficient way possible. Although getting to the gym is a victory in itself, it is also vital that you determine your imbalances then stretch and strengthen the problem areas in order to correct them. Remember, your body is a machine in itself and it is essential that you train properly in preparation for keeping yourself healthy for years to come.

Christopher Crawford will contribute a once a month fitness column. To consult with Christopher about a training regiment or personal training contact him at ccrawfordtraining@gmail.com. 


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  1. Chris is such a great trainer! He’s really helped me in this area. Thanks so much!

  2. theresa hollingsworth

    Chris is believes in training and using the core esstential. His article is only an introduction to proper training dynamics, his sessions are training dynamics using core strength and flexibility. I love this session, it is an efficient way to learn how to use the body, and how to implement mental focus on proper alignment. Thanks and fist bump

  3. Great actricle and very important/informative. Functional exercises are vital. Thanks Chris and I look forward to working together again.

  4. Chris really knows what he is doing, a real professional through and through. I am also impressed
    with his encouraging and cheerful attitude. I look forward to every session with this fitness master.

  5. My name is Al and I have trained with some of NYC’s best trainers over the last 15 years.
    I presently train with Chris (although hesitant at first because of his tenure).
    But I have to admit he is not only knowledgeable but also motivational.
    If you are anything like me you understand the importance of both.
    I give him a definite thumbs up in enforcing my basic core functionality and improving my body strength properly.
    But I give him 2 thumbs up for getting me to the gym-thru my workout-and back again.
    There is hope great trainers do exist but also CARE!
    If you need a trainer you will be robbing yourself if you don’t try him.

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