Core Muscles

The core muscles are responsible for stabilizing the backbone and supporting just about every move you make. Think of what a human skeleton looks like…between the pelvis and the rib cage, all you see is the backbone – that’s the only thing holding up your ENTIRE upper body!   

Here’s a list of some the main core muscles.  All of these muscles are complex and work together to perform the endless, wonderful movements that the human body is capable of: 

In the front and sides:

Rectus Abdominus

Rectus abdominus:  The “six pack” muscles that attach at the front of your rib cage on one end, and the front of your pelvis on the other end.

The abdominals are built into a fibrous membrane called the Linea Alba.  This connective tissue is what actually attaches to the ribs and the pelvis.

Exerior Obliques

External Obliques: These are attached to your ribs and the Linea Alba, then inward at an angle and attach to your pelvis.  They also pull in the direction of your rectus abdominus, and also assist in ROTATING and stabilizing your trunk. 

Internal Obliques

Internal Obliques: They also attach to your ribs and Linea Alba and pelvis.  They are underneath the External Obliques and run in the opposite direction and also help in rotating and stabilizing your trunk.

Transverse Abdominus

Transverse abdominus: This is probably the most important of them all.  It’s underneath the above 3 muscles.  It is a wide, natural belt that runs around your torso.  Its primary job is to tighten and stabilize your trunk during just about every move you make.  Few exercises target this unique muscle like The Vacuum.  If you can’t see this muscle, then why should you do exercises for it?  CLICK HERE to find out!

Erector Spinae

In the back:

Erector Spinae:  These are long muscles on either side of your spine that help extend your spine from the position of a rounded back to an arched back, and also stabilize it in just about every position you are in!


Multifidus: These are shorter muscles that span the distance of 3 vertebrae.  They help hold the backbone together and assist in stabilizing as well.

Hip Flexors:  This is a broad term that covers muscles that attach the lower back and pelvis to your femur.  These muscles are deep in the center of your body. 

This group includes the illiacus (attaches the pelvis to the femur) and the psoas (works with the illiacus and attaches the lower vertebrae to your femur).  These muscles are the primary movers during a situp.  This is why performing situps can be bad for your lower back. 

The Glutes include 3 different muscles: Gluteus Maximus is the one that gives your butt it’s shape.  Many people might not consider the glutes part of the core, but they do play a major role moving your upper body.

This muscle connects at the lower spine and runs at an angle across the back of the hip and attaches to the iliotibal band.  This band is a tendon that other muscles also attach to and it runs down the outside of your thigh and connects to your knee joint.  The Gluteus Medius and Minimus are under the Maximus.  They attach in the inner part of your pelvis to the top part of your femur.

Quadratus Lumborum

Quadratus Lumborum:  These important muscles are attached at the top of hip bone on each side and then reach up and attach to your spine like the guy lines for an antenna or tent. 

There are many other core muscles that support and stabilize the upper body – muscular movement in the human body is fascinating!  When you stop and think about all the muscles that have to work together at the same time to produce everyday moves that we take for granted, it’s amazing!

During your workout of full body exercises, work in core abdominal exercises like the plank and do full body exercises like lunges with twists to work the inner and outer core muscles – moves like this will help trim your midsection and achieve the body of an athlete!

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