Weak or dysfunctional abdominal muscles will not lead to back pain Tensing the trunk muscles is unlikely to provide any protection against back pain or reduce the recurrence of back pain.Core stability exercises are no more effective than, and will not prevent injury more than, any other forms of exercise.
Core stability exercises are no better than other forms of exercise in reducing chronic lower back pain.
I think there is definite value in targeted and tailored prehab and rehab work of the sort I sometimes point to - e.g. as discussed by Colin - but that article did get me thinking.
I thought of it again when I saw this:
Effects of Traditional Sit-up Training Versus Core Stabilization Exercises on Short-Term Musculoskeletal Injuries in US Army Soldiers: A Cluster Randomized Trial.
Background The US Army has traditionally utilized bent-knee sit-ups as part of physical training and testing. It is unknown whether the short-term effects of a core stabilization exercise program (CSEP) without sit-up training may result in decreased musculoskeletal injury incidence and work restriction compared with traditional training.......
.......Of the 1,141 soldiers for whom complete injury data were available for analysis, 511 (44.8%) experienced musculoskeletal injuries during training that resulted in work restrictions. There were no differences in the percentages of soldiers with musculoskeletal injuries. There also were no differences in the numbers of days of work restriction for musculoskeletal injuries overall or specific to the upper extremity. However, soldiers who completed the TEP and experienced a low back injury had more days of work restriction: 8.3 days (SD=14.5) for the TEP group and 4.2 days (SD=8.0) for the CSEP group.
I know there are limitations to this study, bu it is not really a ringing endorsement of core stabilisation training.