The core is not a muscle. That is the major misunderstanding people have. Core is the relationship of a group of muscles and how they function together. The core or Lumbo-Pelvic-Hip-Complex (LPHC) is made up of two categorized muscle groups: Stabilizers and movers. The stabilizing muscles of the core are the transverse abs, internal obliques, lumbar, pelvic muscles, and diaphragm. The movers are the lats, hamstrings, rectus abdominus (abs), hip adductors and abductors, and external obliques. All of these muscles make up the core.
Having a strong core is vital to movement, posture, and prevention of injury. Just like most muscle groups, you have to stabilize the core before you train or move it. Strengthening the muscles as individuals and as a group will help to ensure optimal and efficient movement of the body.
Some basic core stabilizing exercises are bridges and hip abductions. Some basic core strengthening exercises are crunches, back extensions, and twists. Remember, doing a bunch of ab exercises is only part of core work. Just as much time needs to be spent on your back, sides and deeper muscles of each. Safe and efficient movement starts and ends with the core. If you have any questions on how to strengthen your core, feel free to email me.