Squats Load the Core Muscles

New research by Stuart McGill from Canada on core fitness shows that the core muscles in the abdomen and back provide a foundation for human movement by acting as a stiff spring. Isometric exercises such as planks and “stir the pot” develop the core muscles better than traditional exercises such as sit-ups. Researchers from Ireland, the United Kingdom and South Africa found considerable activity and activation of the abdominal and back muscles during squats. They estimated core muscle activity by measuring electrical activation via electromyography and joint movements with motion-sensing devices. Understanding the role of the core in human movement is the first step in producing more powerful athletic performances. (International Journal of Sports Medicine, 37: 448-456, 2016)

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