The ‘core’ and ‘core training’ has become a popular focus of athletic training in recent years. BUT, what is core training really?
When athletes think of core training, they usually think of exercises such as planks, wood choppers, leg raises, medicine ball work, sit-ups, deadlifts and back/front squats.
But, what is core training really? And which exercises should you do either alone or along with your normal training to create a bulletproof core?
One thing to keep in mind about exercises that work the core is that, pretty much EVERY exercise works the core.
You see, because muscles in your arms, neck and legs attach to your core (and vice versa), using them affect your core’s strength and stability. The same is true in reverse – if your core is weak, it affects your arms, neck and legs because they attach to it.
I discussed this fact in my last article "A BIG REASON WHY YOU HAVE NECK AND SHOULDER ISSUES” (click on the hyperlinked title to read it). In that article, I explained why I am usually able to resolve neck and shoulder issues in athletes by strengthening their core appropriately and customized to their specific structural needs.
So what does this mean for you and core training?
The biggest thing I could say to you if you want to effectively train your core (and especially if you think you have an injury related to core strength and stability that you want to overcome), is to train your core based on your own individualized need. Everyone’s core training needs are different, so doing planks may really strengthen your core while making your teammate’s core even weaker.
You should base your individualized core training on where you core is weakest in its most basic movements. This includes your core’s ability toflex, extend, rotate and bend to the side.
If in any of these basic movements, your core is ‘over-performing’ (muscular imbalance when a muscle is overworked) or ‘under-performing’ (muscular imbalance when a muscle is weak and not doing its job), you will have wide spread issues throughout your body.
It is also important to note, that if you work already overworked muscles in these movements while continuing to ignore weaker muscles, you will actually be making you core issues worse.
In my next article, WHERE ATHLETES ARE WEAKEST IN THEIR CORE, I will discuss one of my favorite exercises for a basic core movement that I see weak and unstable in many athletes – both men and women.
Note: If you are having trouble assessing your core for weaknesses, you should have a specialized professional assess you. I recommend a Certified Muscle Activation Techniques Specialist or Certified Resistance Training Specialist in your area.