Yoga Core Strength Reading

As a supplement to my Huffpost Blog, Why I Changed My Mind About Core Strength, here is some additional reading on core strength reality, especially as it relates to back pain and athletic performance


The Myth of Core Stability

“Core stability exercises are no more effective than, and will not prevent injury more than, any other forms of exercise. Core stability exercises are no better than other forms of exercise in reducing chronic lower back pain. Any therapeutic influence is related to the exercise effects rather than CS issues. There may be potential danger of damaging the spine with continuous tensing of the trunk muscles during daily and sports activities. Patients who have been trained to use complex abdominal hollowing and bracing maneuvers should be discouraged from using them. ”

The Role of Trunk Muscle Strength for Physical Fitness and Athletic Performance in Trained Individuals: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

“Conclusions: Our findings indicate that [Trunk Muscle Strength] plays only a minor role for physical fitness and athletic performance in trained individuals. In fact, [Core Strength Training] appears to be an effective means to increase TMS and was associated with only limited gains in physical fitness and athletic performance measures when compared with no or only regular training.”

The effectiveness of core stability exercise with regards to general exercise in the management of chronic non-specific low back pain

“evidence published since this meta-analysis has found no significant difference between core stability and general exercises neither short term nor long term even though both interventions did improve pain and function. It should be noted though that no study reported adverse effects from core stability exercise when compared to general exercise with respect to pain and function. ”

Core strength training for patients with chronic low back pain

“All of the core strength training strategies examined in this study assist in the alleviation of chronic low back pain; however, we recommend focusing on training the deep trunk muscles to alleviate chronic low back pain.”

The importance of trunk muscle strength for balance, functional performance, and fall prevention in seniors: a systematic review.

“Further, there is preliminary evidence in the literature that core strength training (CST) and Pilates exercise training (PET) have a positive influence on measures of strength, balance, functional performance, and falls in older adults.”

Helpful Summaries

4 popular beliefs about core training fitness professionals think are true

“Although core training exercises should still be included in one’s training, as their use will be productive and beneficial, one must do so while keeping the limitations of those benefits in perspective. This also means there is likely no need to view or treat core training exercises as an aspect of one’s programming that requires any type of special emphasis.”

Back Pain Myths: Posture, Core Strength, Bulging Discs

“The obvious conclusion is that if core strengthening has benefit, it works because of the generally beneficial effects of exercise (or as a placebo), not because lack of core strength or poor firing patterns are a major cause of back pain. In other words, despite what we are told over and over, the current evidence states that there is nothing magic about core strength as means to prevent or reduce back pain.”

Mass Media Articles

Are You Sitting Comfortably? The Myth of Good Posture – The Guardian

“To date, all the research has shown that there is no relationship between any postural factors, including the shape and curves of the back, asymmetries and even the way we use our spine, to that of developing back pain. ”

The Core Stability Myth – The Times

“…among exercise scientists there is growing dissent about whether the pursuit of a strong core is worthwhile or even safe.”

Is Your Ab Workout Hurting Your Back – New York Times

“….there’s growing dissent among sports scientists about whether all of this attention to the deep abdominal muscles actually gives you a more powerful core and a stronger back and whether it’s even safe”

To Prevent Back Pain… – New York Times

“…of all the options currently available to prevent back pain, exercise is really the only one with any evidence that it works.”


The myth of Core Stability – Liberated Body

The End of the Structural Model – Liberated Body