When talking to athletes and personal trainers, they will all speak about the importance of core muscles….but what exactly is the core and why is it so important for performance in sport?
If you look at what the core means in the general sense, the core is the central or innermost part. There’s the core of the earth, the core of an apple. The core is the foundation. If it is healthy, the rest of the structure, or fruit is healthy.
Your abdominal core is the same. This is the area between your thighs and shoulders – your mid section. When you think about it, almost every sport and activity requires motion to occur between the pelvis and shoulders. The bending and twisting in the most popular of sports rugby, football, hockey, tennis and golf. These motions are controlled by your core muscles. They provide stability, power and strength to the rest of your body.
When your core is in balance, strong and working at its best, it is easier to move, to stretch and place demands on your body. Should you sustain injury to your back, arms or legs, the healing will be much faster if the core is healthy.
When your core is not working well two things can happen. Firstly your trunk may twist and bend in undesirable ways leading to loss of control and consistency of movement in sport. This may lead to injury. Secondly you won’t store, generate and release energy effectively and efficiently which will affect your overall performance.
With this in mind, for those of us involved in any sport where you are regularly working out, a good way of designing your work-out program will include exercises that challenge your core in more than one direction. Ideally exercise should involve all three planes of movement.
Sagittal plane – moving forwards and backwards
Frontal plane – bending side to side
Transverse plane – rotating from left to right
During each of your strength training workouts, you may want to choose different exercises to strengthen each of these three planes. As you get stronger and you progress, you can incorporate exercises that train two or more planes of motion at the same time.
These training program’s for athletes and individuals involved in sport are designed for those who have a basic understanding and good basic core strength. However, if you are new to sport or exercise, or if you are rehabilitating from an injury, Pilates can teach you how to access the core muscles and get stronger to move onto more advanced Pilates and core strengthening exercise workouts involving eventually all three planes of movement.
Osteopathy and Pilates at Posture Dynamics can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses in your posture, injury and core strength. We can then individually design a management program to suit your needs and requirements.