All About the Core

If your core isn’t engaged…everything will fall apart.  And, every ballet student knows this.  But, let me ask you the following questions regarding your core…

  1. What are the two muscle groups that we consider our “core?”
  2. What are the three main muscles that make up your abdominals?
  3. How can we find these muscles?

Well…maybe we don’t know so much about the core, do we?  Let’s learn some anatomy.

The Core as a Whole

The core isn’t your abdominals.  Get that out of your head!  Your abdominals are the main part of it, but that isn’t all that we consider our core.  Our abdominals AND our back are all part of our core.

Why is the core important?  Let’s review…

  • It prevents your pelvis from tucking or tipping…it keeps in stable, neutral, and steady.
  • It’s your powerhouse for all movements of your body – almost EVERYTHING is either distantly or closely connected to your core muscles.
  • It keeps your posture looking nice.  It prevents your belly from sticking out – looking for an uncontrolled vibe and messy line across the front of your body.

The Abdominal Muscles

The abdominal muscles are the main part of your core.  They’re vitally important to preventing injury and supporting your movements with power and placement.  The abdominal muscle group is made up of three muscles that are vital to ballet and supporting your movements:

  • the rectus abdominis
  • the transverse abdominis
  • the internal and external obliques

Here is a quick overview diagram of all of the core muscles.  Each is nicely defined and visible.

Now, let’s go through a quick description of each and how to find the desired muscle.

The rectus abdominis is what body builders think of when they think of the abdominal muscle group.  They are your “six pack.”  They are the outer layer of muscles, so they are actually the least powerful (see anatomy terms).  They are important for general support of your abdominals, they are the cover, they support the line.  To find the rectus abdominis, try some crunches, planks, roll-ups, etc.  Any basic abdominal exercises really work for this.

The rectus abdominis muscle is circled in red.

The transverse abdominis is, in my opinion, the most important abdominal muscle.  It is a smaller muscle in the abdominal group, but it’s vitally important to the support of the abs, and more specifically the lower abs, for ballet. You can find it by thinking of bringing in the area right below your belly button.

The transverse abdominis muscle is circled in red.

The internal and external obliques support the sides of the abs (the lateral sections).  The internal and external obliques intertwine together around the sides of the body.  They connect to the back of the core.

The internal/external obliques are circled in red.

The Back

The back doesn’t have any specific muscles that you should be worrying about, but you can do exercises to engage it.  Try some back ups.  If you would like a core workout with specific back exercises, please leave a Request.

I hope you enjoyed learning about the core.  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave them below.  Thank you for reading this article!

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3 thoughts on “All About the Core

  1. Great post! Vey helpful! Do you think that training your core evry day is bad because the muscles don’t have time to repair or it is okay to do daily core focused workouts?

    1. Hi Alessia! Daily core training is good, but make sure to take off at least one day a week, typically Sunday. I wrote a post, called So…You Have Time Off? which details longer vacation periods, if that is helpful at all. You are correct in the fact that your muscles do need time off to repair and build strength; taking a day off weekly should cover this problem.

      Ella Goulet

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