Published on Dec 16, 2022 - 4 min read
This article is about core stability and its importance among athletes and common people. Read below to know more.
Understanding the function and movements of the core is necessary for fitness professionals because it is the foundation for the ability to produce all types of movements. The arms and legs cannot adapt to the required force and speed once the core is unable to support a particular exercise. Reducing belly fat and increasing stabilization is the key purpose of core strengthening. This contributes to every exercise being a part of core exercise.
Core stability is referred to the ability of the person to stabilize their core.
The ability of the person depends on position control and core movement.
If a person has higher core stability, they have good control over the position and movement of the body.
The body's center of gravity is associated with core stability.
Thus, if a person moves from one place to another or tries to lift heavy objects, the core region is tense first.
This change occurs unconsciously and in conjunction with a change in breathing patterns.
Core stability is essential for the maintenance of an upright posture.
The lower back is not supported without the core stability as it can be injured from strain. Insufficient core stability results in lower back pain and lower limb injuries.
To understand core stability, it is important to understand the movements of the spine.
The spine is stabilized in all planes- flex laterally in the frontal plane, flex and extend in the sagittal plane, and perform a combination of these movements.
While doing an exercise in a core training program, the person should begin at the highest level at which they can maintain stability.
The various movement assessments for identifying core stability are the double-leg lowering test, push-ups, overhead squat assessment, floor bridge, and quadruped opposite arm or leg raise.
Status and progress are evaluated through reassessments.
Intervertebral Stability: It is the ability to minimize movement between vertebrae. This is done by activating smaller muscles such as the transverse abdominis, diaphragm, pelvic floor muscles, and small paraspinal muscles. Exercises include Kegels and drawing-in.
Lumbo-Pelvic Stability: It is the ability to minimize movement between the ribcage and pelvis. This is done by isometric tightening of the abdominal core muscles. Exercises include drawing in and abdominal bracing.
Stabilization- The first phase of core training, and there is little to no movement of the spine during this phase.
Plank, side plank, floor prone cobra, floor bridge, cable anti-rotation, and chest press.
Other exercises that are not core focused but require the core to be strong and flexible are push-ups, bent-over rows, kettlebell swings, deadlifts, and asymmetrically loaded carriers.
Core strengthening exercises require movement of the spine through a relatively large range of motion and also integrate the full muscle-action spectrum and resistance through the use of medicine balls, cables, bands, and free weights.
Crunches, back extension, side bends, and trunk rotation are important to core strengthening exercises.
Core power exercises do not require resistance but focus on the movement's rate of force and speed.
Rotation chest pass, soccer throw, overhead crunch throw, and medicine ball slam are important to core power exercises.
Level 1-Core Stabilization Exercises: Should perform one to three sets of ten to fifteen repetitions per side at a slow tempo.
Side Plank: Should lie on the side and draw in and lift, holding for five seconds with engaging core and leg musculature. Should keep the head, shoulders, hips, knees, and feet in a straight line.
Cable Anti-rotation Chest Press: Should stand with feet, hip to shoulder width apart, and hold the handles at chest tight. Draw in the navel to tighten the core muscles while engaging the glutes. Next, press the handles away from the chest without any movement or rotation of the lumbar pelvic hip complex.
Marching Hip Bridge: Should lie on the back and place the hands on the sides. Then lift the hips and hold a hip bridge. After that, lift the right foot off the floor to ninety degrees at the hip and knee. Bring down the foot onto the floor and repeat with the opposite leg.
Forearm Plank With Toe Tips: Should position the body into a forearm plank with feet touching. Begin with alternating toe taps such that the right foot pushes away from the body, touches the floor, and then returns to the center. Should repeat similarly using the left leg.
Level 2-Core Strengthening Exercises: The person should perform two to three sets of eight to twelve repetitions at a medium tempo.
Cable Rotation: This includes spinal and hip rotation. The trunk stays tall with the chest up.
Stability Ball Back Extension: Should brace the feet against the wall and align the ball low on the abdominal region. Then flex the spine over the ball, and extend using the erector spinae muscles while holding the glutes and leg muscles tight.
Level 3-Core Power Exercises: The person should perform two to three sets of eight to ten repetitions as fast as possible with control.
Medicine Ball Rotation Chest Pass: Lightweight balls are used for easier throw and evaluation of power developed. Should stand sideways, about three to five feet away from the wall, with feet parallel to the wall. Then the person should twist the body at ninety degrees while throwing the ball against the wall.
Medicine Ball Slam: This is a good core power exercise because the core is the link in explosive upper and lower body movements. Should lift the medicine ball overhead and then use the entire body to accelerate the ball down to the floor.
A core training program must be designed to progress exercise participants safely and logically, providing a strong foundation before introducing higher power moves. Too often, the trainers or clients skip the stabilization phase and opt for exciting and dynamic movements. Limits in core stabilization training affect performance outcomes and lead to injury and pain. Personal trainers will not address or treat pain but can address stability and movement deficiencies.
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16 Dec 2022 - 4 min read
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