“Core strength” and “core stability” are buzzwords in the fitness industry, which spends a huge amount of time and money convincing consumers their products will improve their lives. Ads on TV promote everything from workout machines to abdomen belts, each promising the latest and greatest way to get six pack abs. Core strength is obviously something people want to achieve, but why is it so important? Let’s find out.
First, let’s define what exactly we mean when we talk about the core of the body. According to the Journal of Sports Medicine, “The core musculature includes the muscles of the trunk and pelvis that are responsible for maintenance of stability of the spine and pelvis and help in the transfer of energy from large to small body parts during athletic activities.” Most people think of the core as the muscles that make up a six-pack, but it is actually only one of many muscle groups in your core.
The next term that needs to be defined is core stability, which is the ability to stabilize your body through the trunk and hips in order to control and use the force produced from the core, which is then transferred to your arms and legs. Increased stability of the core allows for greater mobility of all other parts of the body. Sounds pretty important, right?
Your core stability plays a huge role in your ability to perform athletic activities. The muscles of your core serve a different function than those of your extremities. They produce power, while arms and legs are meant to move around. The core is the part of your body that generates power and transfers it to other parts of your body, allowing them to move freely.
For example, consider a baseball player. If an outfielder has a weak core, he is more likely to injure his shoulder. Why? His shoulder has to produce increased force, because his core is not effectively generating power. If an outfielder has a strong core, he will be able to efficiently transfer power from his core through his shoulder and arm. This decreases the stress on his joints and results in a more optimal throwing motion.
The level of core strength and stability you have is inherently limiting, and if you do not have a strong core it is unlikely you will be able to perform at a very high athletic level without injury. The reason everyone in the fitness community seems to be preoccupied with core strength is because it’s an essential part of training that is too often neglected. For more information about how to improve core strength and prevent injury, feel free to contact your local Foothills Sports Medicine physical therapy clinic today.
- The Role of Core Stability in Athletic Function :W Kibler – Joel Press – Aaron Sciascia – Sports Medicine – 2006
- Core Stability Exercise Principles: Venu Akuthota – Andrea Ferreiro – Tamara Moore – Michael Fredericson – Current Sports Medicine Reports – 2008
- Core Stability and Its Relationship to Lower Extremity Function and Injury: John Willson – Christopher Dougherty – Mary Ireland – Irene Davis – Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons – 2005
- Core Training: Evidence Translating to Better Performance and Injury Prevention: Stuart Mcgill – Strength and Conditioning Journal – 2010
- The Role of Core Training in Athletic Performance, Injury Prevention, and Injury Treatment: John Cissik – Strength and Conditioning Journal – 2011