Why we need Core Stability TrainingPosted by Felipe Loureiro | 10.31.2013
Why we need Core Stability Training
Benefits of Core Stability Training
For athletes, the realization of this benefit is small at first. They are questioning why they have to do Core Stability training at all. But if they stick with it, they notice that doing an everyday activity starts to become a little easier. That sack of groceries can be grabbed with one hand. Climbing the stairs takes less effort. Sports’ skills become a little crisper and smoother. The connection isn’t there yet but it starts to make them wonder what’s going on.
Next comes that consistent tense feeling in the muscles. Not from a muscle bound "I can scratch my nose" sense, but rather a feeling of muscle readiness through a full range of motion. They notice a little bump on the top of the shoulder (trap muscle) or a muscle in the leg that’s starting to layer with what body builders call “cuts”. It doesn’t take long to realize that maybe it's the Core Stability program they’ve been on that is starting to show results.
From here things start to take off. The athletes start to feel better about themselves. The next revelation is during competition. Making the play, beating the opposition, leveling that hill all start to happen with more frequency and consistency. Overall performance improves. The athletes have gained a level of confidence they have never experienced before, and it’s all due to hard work and consistent adherence to a sound Core Stability program.
How to build a strong foundation
Core stability training is essential to sports performance and injury prevention. The body's core muscles are the foundation for all other movement. The muscles of the torso stabilize the spine and provide a solid foundation for movement in the extremities.
These core muscles lie deep within the torso. They generally attach to the spine, pelvis and muscles that support the scapula. When these muscles contract, we stabilize the spine, pelvis and shoulders and create a solid base of support. We are then able to generate powerful movements of the extremities.
Training the muscles of the core also corrects postural imbalances that can lead to injuries. The biggest benefit of core training is to develop functional fitness - that is, fitness that is essential to both daily living and regular activities.
The main concepts of core strengthening programs involve using many muscles in a coordinated movement. Rather than isolating a specific joint as in most weight lifting, stability exercises focus on working the deep muscles of the entire torso at once.
Abdominal bracing is the main technique used during core exercise training. It refers to the contraction of the abdominal muscles. To correctly brace, you should attempt to pull your navel back in toward your spine. This action primarily recruits transverse abdominus. Be careful not to hold your breath — you should be able to breathe evenly while bracing.
Other exercises that develop core strength include exercises on a stability ball, work with medicine balls, wobble boards and Pilate's exercise programs. For a simple core strength program you can begin with push-ups and crunches, but work with a trainer to find the exercises that work best for you.
Core training has many benefits including:
- More functional workouts that translate into daily life activities
- Improved performance in sports (Swim, Bike and Run Biomechanics)
- Reduction in the risk of injury
- Better ability to function each day
Felipe Loureiro is the founder of Breakaway-Training located in Southern California. He is a hugely successful athlete who has first-hand knowledge about what it takes to meet training and racing goals. As a USAT Level I certified coach and a certified NCSF personal trainer, Felipe has the credentials to help others achieve as well.