Core muscles

re mention of core muscles in another thread - my physio talks about them - but what are they and what exactly do they do in the human body - do they influence leg strength?

I assume they’re in the belly somewhere - and is the aim to get a six pack (pigs might …)

The MS Trust has some good exercises and even the basic ones will help.

"What is core stability?

One element of balance is the ability to maintain a steady trunk whilst moving a limb. When we reach out an arm or take a step to walk, our nervous system switches on our muscles in a specific order, with trunk muscles contracting before limb muscles. This stabilises the body, ensuring that we are not pulled off balance by the moving arm or leg. This trunk steadiness is commonly known as ‘core stability’. Training programmes, such as Pilates, exercise the ‘core’ muscles in a precise controlled manner with the aim of improving trunk stability".


They influence general strength and stability & mobility, rather than leg strength directly.

(If you’re looking for core strength exercises specifically for the likes of us, I can’t recommend the MS Gym enough!)

What some people call core muscles others call abs or abdominal muscles. Stand or sit straight and pull your tummy in. You’re exercising some of your core muscles. Waist twists and side bends exercise different core muscles. A strong core makes a big difference to your posture. There are plenty of simple exercises out there if you search for them.

It’s a bugger, physios use the term ‘core’ without ever explaining what this means and what a strong core helps with. Physiotherapists were saying to me for years, ‘your core is weak’. I didn’t understand what it meant and what effect this could have. Then I had major problems with a disastrous relapse on top of foot drop. I discovered what the core was and it was a bit too late. I tried and tried to make it stronger but to no avail.

Your core is your abdominals, yes, but it’s the whole of your central region, pelvic muscles, back, bottom, everything in the middle essentially.

And you need all of this to be as strong as you can get it, because without a strong core, it’s hard to make the rest of you work. Standing, walking, picking up your feet, turning, sitting. Everything uses the core.

So, the answer is, while you can, exercise that core. Get support from physiotherapists for specific exercises and ways of improving what you have. As Whammel said, look at the info on the MS Trust website.



And go to a chair based Pilates class if you can’t stand for any length of time - you will find standing easier over time as well, and walking.

I don’t have much hope of a six pack either but at least I find it easier to keep my balance when I’m cleaning my teeth.

Jo x

My core is no more!


How I hate that damned phrase ‘core muscles’ physios are always on about them! I’m with polls on this. I swear I use to be able to find them and control them. I can’t seem to get away from the damned phyio at the moment, I’ve to go back in 6 weeks having worked on my ‘core’, yes I know it really helps but I’d really like to go back to being ignored! Theres’s no pleasing some people M xx

Having no core strength at all has reduced me to a flopping jelly!

If you can do anything to help your middle muscles (is that better than core, Hells?), you`ll feel the benefit.

Too late for mine.


My physio explained it like this: your core muscles are the centre support for everything you do. Its not about having a ‘six-pack’, its about working on the core strength of your body that helps to support you move. Like mine is weak, but I can still stand, sit up straight and walk (shuffle!) short distances with some support: when/if the core goes completely I wouldn’t be able to do any of those things.

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Don’t think I want my fish & chips now Scudger​! xx

Sorry. I deleted it. It was`nt nice.