What exactly IS the core?

When the word “core” is mentioned many people might may be be forgiven for thinking of an apple core or the Earths core. It’s now one of these exercise terms that gets bandied around a lot. What exactly IS the core?

From an exercise and strength point of view, the core is generally regarded as the area of the body from the bottom ribs down to the top of the thighs – front and back. This includes the stomach, lower back, and pelvic muscles.

The core is used to stabilise the thorax and pelvis during dynamic movement, holding the body still do the legs and arms can move more effectively.

Core muscles are especially important for childbirth and continence – both bladder AND bowel (IBS sufferers take note). The core determines, to a large extent, a persons posture.

Core muscles align the spine, ribs and pelvis to resist a specific force. Examples are running, jumping, lifting. This has obvious implications for those involved in sport.

Core strength training is one of the “hottest” topics to hit the field of strength training in recent years. Nearly all our daily movements activate the core – sitting, standing, bending, picking things up.

The core is the centre of power of the body, so the stronger your core, the more physically comfortable your life will be. Conversely, a weak core can result in a host of problems.

Central to the core are the four abdominal muscles: recurs abdominis (the ‘six pack’), internal obliques, external obliques, and transversus abdominis (TVA).

The TVA is the deepest of the abs, lying under the six pack. Weaknesses in this muscle can be the root cause of many injuries in sports people. In order to really time the six pack, the TVS must be exercised. The TVA helps to pull in the gut, hence its nickname, the corset muscle. It involuntarily contracts during many lifts and is the bodies natural weight-lifting belt, stabilising the pelvis during movements. Weaknesses in the TVA can, therefore, lead to lower back problems.


Can prevent lower back pain
Improves functional movement
Improves posture
Enhances balance and stability
Greatly reduces chances of injury
Improves sports performance

Core exercises include lungs, squats, deadlifts, planks, dead bugs, and back extensions.

NB:- when lifting, lunging or squatting, tense the abs, bend the legs, stick the backside out, and keep your back as straight as you can!



Latest News


In my experience of coaching perhaps 1000’s of runners the most common injury/pain complaint I hear is shinsplints.  This is ESPECIALLY true for BEGINNERS! However, fear not! Yes this is a very common complaint, but it is very preventable and curable.

Lucy Looby’s Top Tips for weight loss

No-one should feel hungry in their efforts to lose weight. If your efforts are leaving you unsatisfied & cravings set in, I believe, you are setting yourself up to fail.  Sticking to a meal plan is going to be extremely difficult if your tummy is rumbling unless you have a willpower that goes above and beyond the average person.

Clifden Native, Olivia Cosgrove talks about her late start into distance running!!

It is often said that the Irish are the most generous when it comes to charity. I remember after Live Aid, Bob Geldof live on the TV news excitedly saying how "the Irish are actually beating the English in terms of donations per capita" to the famine stricken of Africa. We are an altruistic nation and it's great to see people giving to those who are not so advantaged. Many people do this in the name of sport and exercise, which is a double PLUS!!

From a Mullingar classroom to 42k on the streets of Manchester – school teacher Jill Kiernan’s fitness journey with Maurice Looby Fitness

In January 2016 Mullingar primary school teacher Jill Kiernan made a new years resolution to quit smoking and lose some weight. Little did she think that just over 3 years later she would be running the full 42km Manchester Marathon. Only competitive with herself, Jill followed a personalised Maurice Looby Fitness training plan, and ran the race in a very impressive 3.28 - on her first attempt at the distance! Here follows an endearingly honest Q&A with Jill, charting her running journey...

The 5 components of fitness

According to The Oxford Dictionary of Sports Science and Medicine, there are 5 health related components of physical fitness: Body Composition  Cardiovascular Fitness Flexibility  Muscular Endurance  (Absolute/maximal) Strength.

Fail to plan, is plan to fail!! Why you need a plan & a coach.

For most people, running a marathon will be the most demanding physical experience of their life. For many people, building up to running a 5k will be a huge achievement that requires a lot of self discipline, perseverance, organisation, and PLANNING! Running is a great metaphor for life. You get out of it what you put into it.