George Russell, D.C.
George Russell, D.C.

Admit it.  You dread the day when you're asked this question:


Mama, where does core strength come from?


But you will get asked, so why not be prepared?


Core Strength


Remember when it was all about abs?  Now, it's all about "core strength."   


This is a good thing.  Because a strong core is far more important (and sexier) than a display of washboard abs.  


But what exactly is core strength? And where does it come from?


Core strength is what we employ to hold up a single torso with two legs (or even one leg!)  Less about strength, it is about coordination.  It is a balance and support function.


If  we want to prevent injury and continue walking, breathing freely and standing upright into

old age, we need superb coordination.  


Let's look at the major muscles of core strength:

  • the gluteal muscles.  (Yes, I am looking at your butt.)  The side and back muscles of the buttocks keep the pelvis stable so the torso is upright over the legs.
  • the hip flexor and hamstring.  The main hip flexor is located in the groin and is called the Psoas Major.  ("Psoas" is pronounced "so-as")  You already know where your hamstring is. ("Hamstring" is pronounced "hamstring")  When we sit at a desk all day, our hip flexor and hamstring become shortened and this shortening throws off the position and flexibility of the pelvis, which is the foundation from which the spine grows.
  • the abdominals and low back muscles.  Though these muscles play a role in stabilizing the torso like a girdle, they are overrated.  The muscles that truly prevent injury and improve function are smaller than the abs and the back muscles, and are located deep, near the spine.  You can't strengthen these muscles with weights.  They're like an elite squad of Navy Seals - it's not the size that matters, it's the dexterity and speed of response

The Urbanite's Easiest Core Strength Exercise:

  • Get on a subway
  • Hold onto a pole
  • While the train is moving, experiment with letting go of the pole and balancing on your legs
  • Try it on one leg
  • Don't have so much fun that you miss your stop

If you are interested in attending an hour long workshop in NYC on strengthening the major muscles of the core, please email me.


Using Core Strength to Carry your Knapsack
As most of you know, wearing a knapsack with both straps on both shoulders is preferable
to using a shoulder bag, especially if you are carrying a moderate to heavy load.  There are, however, correct and incorrect ways of carrying your knapsack.  The correct way makes use of core strength. You do not want to hold up your knapsack by...
the shoulders forward.


drawing the shoulders back and thrusting the chest forward.
The correct way to carry a knapsack is by lifting the ribcage back and
The abdominals remain soft and the ribcage lifts with an energetic tilt back and up on the diagonal.  This carriage makes use of core strength.


Please remind me when you come in for your next appointment and I'll give you a brief tutorial. (Don't forget to bring your knapsack. With five bricks in it.)
Read an interview with me by Jon Berry at Insight Trails, a new website about approaching your work spiritually.

My friend and colleague, Dr. Ann Daly, has a new book out. ClarityHow to Accomplish What Matters Most.  Beautifully designed and written, it's a quick read that gave me a big boost.  Let me know what you think. You can purchase it by clicking here

George Russell, M.A., D.C. | 101 Fifth Avenue, Suite 10C | between 17th and 18th Street | New York, NY | NY | 10003