QUESTION: What is the function of the “core”?
ANSWER: Let me ask you first, did your initial response to this question include more than one plane of movement? Or is your first thought of only forward flexion, as in crunches or sit ups? Functionally – yes, the core helps us to be able to sit up to get out of bed in the morning. But it does SO MUCH MORE!! The muscles of the core need to be able to respond to and control ALL of the movements that our trunk is capable of!
This includes, as depicted here by Stu the stickman, bending forwards, backwards, rotating, sidebending, weight shifting from one leg to the other, squatting, reaching overhead, and all of the infinite possibilities that combining these movements creates!
Therefore, we are challenging our core function and, IF done well, strengthening our core muscles, by doing ALL movements. But here’s the kicker – your core only gets good at the movements it repeatedly does. If your core strengthening regimen includes a hundred crunches and a two-minute plank hold and nothing else, then your core muscles will be really good at doing crunches and planks, and NOTHING ELSE!