Improving ‘core strength’ is one of the main reasons why folks get in touch with me. Health professionals often advise their patients to ‘strengthen their core’ as part of their pain relief rehabilitation.  But I often feel a there is a disparity between what I understand as being ‘the core’, and what is considered to be ‘core strength’.

Pop ‘core strength’ into Google images and you’ll see lots of pictures of people with low body fat and developed muscles, usually doing sit up and planks.

Don’t get me wrong, these are great exercises, but they might not be the right exercises if you are experiencing any pain and discomfort, or pelvic floor dysfunction. That’s because when you experience these uncomfortable symptoms the ‘core’ is not functioning well, it’s NOT because the ‘core’ is inherently weak.

So, I’m making it my mission to spread the word about what good core function actually is so you can get the right help for you to support your body.

So, let’s take a quick look at what good core function really is:

Core function is the capacity for the constituent parts of the ‘core’ to work together to perform the natural chain reaction of expansion (inhaling) and compression (exhaling) optimally.

The 3 main constituents to focus on are:

  1. Your respiratory diaphragm. This is the large muscle that’s situated at the base of your lungs, its job is to give us the power to breathe efficiently.
  2. Your Transverse Abdominus. This is the muscle that wraps around your middle, a bit like a corset.
  3. Your pelvic diaphragm. This is just a posh word for the muscles of your pelvic floor.

When these guys work well together the ‘core’ works reflexively, i.e. it turns on and off as needed to support your body as you go about your daily activities.  All these components are driven by the breath.  One of the ways to develop good core function is to address breathing strategies.

The more you focus on the 3 main constituents of core function the better they will work together.  And when they work together well, they’ll help you with these everyday functions:

  • Better breathing = increased feelings of wellbeing.
  • Allowing movement of the trunk.
  • Spare the spine from excessive loads.
  • Transfer forces between the upper and lower parts of the body.
  • Facilitate better digestion.
  • Enable the expulsion/excretion of waste substances.
  • Support and protect the internal organs of the body.

To learn more about the course I run, or to simply ask a question, feel free to email me at