Here’s why you should stop referring to your core as ‘weak’.
If you asked me to throw a baseball with my left hand, you would see a pitiful movement followed by zero distance on my throw. Are the muscles of my left-arm weak? As my fellow arm-wrestlers can attest, my left is comparatively much stronger than my right. However, it IS less coordinated when attempting complicated movements. Less capable of holding tension through dynamic patterns.
My left arm is ‘shredded’, but can’t throw. Similarly, core strength is not ‘shredded abs’, but is instead about navigating ranges of motion with resulting power output.
Core strength is something you demonstrate and express when you control your body through compound movements. This is a practice of muscle memory and repetition. You become more skilled over time. As you become more familiar and comfortable with those positions, you are able to demonstrate strength.
Why do we feel like it’s a weakness?
My theory is that many movements you perform throughout the day rely on the resting tone of your muscles. ‘Resting tone’ being the amount of engagement you hold through your central musculature. Either without thinking about it, through force of habit, or through your choice of posture. When sitting at a desk for example, I would guess you hold engagement through your fingers and wrists (for typing), as well as through the neck and shoulders. Holding the head upright and focusing vision takes work dammit! Unfortunately, the sitting posture doesn’t necessitate abdominal tone or glute engagement.
The good news is that we do CrossFit. In our CrossFit classes, we frequently refer to the ‘midline’. This line -the midline- can be drawn through the integration of the pelvis and the spine, and this line is profoundly important to functional movement. We hold weight above our heads, we lift weight off the ground, and we squat up and down. These activities demand engagement and control around the midline. We practice posture, breathing and bracing, and feeling our muscles into engagement before moving the weight.
It never gets easier, you only get stronger.