How To Train The Core For Optimal Performance

Core

Noun

the central or most important part of something.

What Is It:

If you were to take away the head, neck and limbs from your body, what remains is the core. Several layers of muscles extend from it and attach to different sites around the spine, ribs, and pelvis.

The Players:

The transverse abdominis (TVA) wraps around the torso like a corset. It’s often referred to as the body's natural weight lifting belt.

The next layer of muscles are the internal and external obliques. They sit on both sides of the pelvis and reach the lower half of the ribs.

Between the obliques, rest the rectus abdomens or “6 pack.”

Two lesser known players on the team are the erector spinae and quadratus lumborum (QL).

These muscles form your core. The core muscles AND the glutes are essential to stabilizing the pelvis. Working together as a unit, these muscle groups protect the spine during heavy lifting and power motion.

Why Train the Core:

Individuals with a weak core will often experience lower back pain. Working in a physical therapy setting has provided sufficient proof that many patients suffer low back pain because their core (and almost always, their glutes) is weak. Think about it - in the absence of core strength, the spine handles too much force.

Who Needs a Strong Core:

We all need a strong core to function our best and to prevent injuries. Athletes need a greater level of core strength because these folks make heavy demands on their bodies because their activities require larger amounts of force. Changing direction on the field, sprinting, or throwing a baseball are just some examples of activities that require larger amounts of force. For the most part, all of these activities generate most of the needed force from the body’s core muscles.

How Do You Train it:

Here’s the good news - training the core is easy. There are a variety of exercises that target core muscles. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced athlete, there are core exercises for you.

Your spine is designed to move in many different directions. To do that, it needs power - not only to move into a certain position but to remain in that position. It gets its power from the core muscle groups.

Throughout the training week you should include the following types of stability drills.

3 simple categories of core training

Anti-extension

DEAD BUGS

  • Keep your lower back flat on the ground and take a deep breath through your stomach (fill it up like a balloon)

  • As you Lower your opposite limbs (right arm and left leg) to the ground make sure you exhale through your mouth deflating the "balloon

  • Your lower back should remain in contact with the ground throughout the entire move

PLANK BODY SAWS

  • Assume a prone plank with your elbows under your arm pits and legs outside your hips

  • Rock back and forth without losing your flat back

  • the further back you rock the harder it is

Anti-lateral flexion

SIDE PLANK

  • Keep your arm at a 90 degree angle and elbow under your arm pit

  • Stack your feet, hips, and knees together

  • Lift your hips off the ground and squeeze your glutes

  • Don't forget to breath

SINGLE ARM FARMERS CARRY

  • Walk slowly with a DB or KB on one side of the body

  • Pretend you have an equal weight on the opposite side to avoid leaning to one side

  • Keep your shoulder firmly in the socket to avoid a droopy shoulder

Anti-rotation

PALL-OFF PRESS

  • Stand in a athletic stance with legs shoulder width apart

  • Hold the band or cable against your chest

  • Once your core is tight and set press the band or cable out in front of you in a straight path

  • Hold for 3-5 seconds)and return to your chest in straight line

HALF KNEE CABLE CHOP

  • Take a half knee position and make sure your knee, hip, and shoulder are all organized on top of each other

  • keep your knees and feet straight

  • Activate your core and glute to stabilize your pelvis

  • Pull the cable across your body without losing your balance

DYNAMIC CORE WORK FOR ATHLETES

SQUAT TO CHOP

MB SLAMS


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