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Core Muscles - How To Know If They Are Strong Or Weak?

Written and reviewed by
MBBS, MS - Orthopaedics, Fellowship in Arthroscopy
Orthopedic Doctor, Hyderabad  •  18 years experience
Core Muscles - How To Know If They Are Strong Or Weak?

The core muscles, mainly concentrated around the abdomen, hips, lower back, trunk, and glutes, are indeed a powerhouse that gets you going. The stronger the core muscles, the fitter you stay. Without a proper core strength, a lot of the day to day activities including lifting or bending gets affected. Certain health conditions can weaken the core muscles. But how to know if the core muscles are weak? There are many signs and symptoms associated with weak core muscles.

Mentioned below are some important signs that may be an indication of weak core muscles.

  1. For your posture to be correct, the spine and pelvis need to be stable: The muscles of the lower back and the abdomen does exactly that, ensuring a steady and correct posture. However, when the core muscles weaken, they are unable to provide stability to the spine and the pelvis resulting in a poor posture. Left unattended, poor posture, in turn, can trigger a myriad of complications and discomfort.
  2. The body loses its balance: As already mentioned, the core muscles go a long way in stabilizing the body and helping you to maintain the body balance. You can perform a small test to know if your balance is affected. Close your eyes and stand on one foot. Repeat the procedure with the other foot as well. If you have a developed core, you will be able to hold the position for at least 10 seconds, if not more (both the legs).
  3. A pain concentrated to the lower back: Do not ignore a lower back pain. It could be an indication of your core muscles not being strong enough, especially the ones adjacent to the spine. The weak muscles fail to provide the necessary support to the discs and the vertebrae resulting in pain (mild to severe depending on the severity of the condition) and discomfort. Timely medical intervention may help improve the condition.
  4. Weakness throughout the body: The strong core muscles are an indication of a healthy and fit body. When the muscles start to lose its strength, the entire body gets affected. A person finds it difficult to even lift things. Doing even a small and regular work leaves a person weak and tired.
  5. You can also perform the Hollowing Test to check your core strength: Sit in a comfortable position. Starting breathing in and out. As you breathe out or exhale, try to pull your stomach inwards towards the spine for at least 10 seconds. Unable to pass this test (can't hold the position for 10 seconds) indicates weak core muscles.
  6. You can also try the plank test: Get yourself in a push-up position with the entire body resting on your elbows, arms, and toes. The hip should be level and steady. Failing to stay in this position for 50 seconds is indicative of weak core muscles.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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