CHARLOTTE, NC – Next, we are looking at the erector spinae muscles and how they pertain to your core. These muscles are located on each side of the spine and extend from your neck (where they actually attach to your cranium) all the way down to deep within your pelvis. There are three muscle groups that actually make up the ES (the spinalis, longissimus & iliocostalis muscles) but for the sake of column space, we’ll be referring to them collectively as the erector spinae (es). If you reach behind your back and place your fingertips on your spine, move approximately a half-inch off your spine to either side and what you feel are some of your erector spinae muscles.
What do they do? Their basic function is to move your spinal column. They extend the spine (backbend), they are responsible for forwarding flexion of the spine (bending over to touch your toes), and they laterally flex the spine (face forward and bend your body from the waist up to the right/left side). Finally, the ES muscles help steady the spine and pelvis as you walk.
Wow! These muscles do a lot of work, and their job is extremely important when talking about a good, strong core. If these muscles are weak or overworked, other muscles are forced to pick up their slack. For instance, your glutes might suffer and you may even have muscle spasms that cause back pain, especially in the thoracic region.
Next week we’ll wrap up our core muscle definitions.