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Aim for top core; Build up vital muscles and reap benefit.

Byline: Lee McConnell

Core, part 1

In previous articles, I have shown examples of abdominal exercises and talked about the importance of having good core strength for both everyday activities and sport.

The core is essential in all sports. Ask any sports person and they will be following a core programme.

In last week's article, professional golfer Zack Saltman talked about the importance of core strength in his sport.

However, the core region consists of far more than just the abdominal muscles.

Core muscles are all the muscles in the torso and work to stabilise the spine, pelvis and shoulder. Core strength training aims to target all the muscles groups that stabilise the spine and pelvis.

It's these muscle groups that are critical for the transfer of energy from large to small body parts during many sporting and everyday activities.

Having a solid, balanced base allows the limbs to move more powerfully and under control.

Swiss Ball Quadriceps

In the press-up position, with your toes on top of the ball, contract your trunk muscles and pull in your stomach in to hold this position. Your head should be relaxed and facing the floor. Bend your knees and roll the ball towards your bottom, and then roll back out to the start position. It's important to keep your trunk muscles contracted during this whole exercise - even when breathing. Start by performing three sets of 5/8 repetitions, building up to three sets of 20 repetitions.

Benefits Of Core Training

Reduce risk of injury; provide a more stable base for arm and leg movement; greater efficiency of movement; improved body control and coordination; improve balance and stability. As your stabilising muscles' endurance improves, you will be able to perform movements without your technique deteriorating excessively due to fatigue. You can improve your ability to hold off opponents in contact sports and enjoy improved athletic performance.

Side Bridge (progression with abduction)

Balance on your elbow and forearm, and side of your foot. Your body should be in a straight line, with your hips off the ground. Contract your core muscles to maintain this position. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat three times. Build this up until you can hold the position for one minute, three times. Once you are able to hold it, the next progression is to lift your top leg up and balance on one hand. Build this up gradually, making sure you are maintaining good trunk contraction and a straight body position.


This is a slight variation on a crunch, which works abdominals and strengthens the core. Lie flat on your back with your legs raised straight up in the air, one crossed over the other. Raise your arms and point them towards your heels. Holding the core tight, and remembering to breathe, crunch your abdominals to raise your back off the ground. Lower slowly and repeat. Start by performing three sets of 5/8 repetitions, building up to three sets of 20.

Swiss Ball Hamstring

Lying on your back, place your heels on the top of the ball and lift your hips off the ground. Start with your arms at your side for balance. As you progress, you should be able to perform this with your arms across your chest. Contract your bottom and trunk muscles to hold this position. Pull the ball towards your bottom then roll back to the start position. Start by performing three sets of 5/8 repetitions and building up to three sets of 20 repetitions.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 16, 2009
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