Core stability is the name given to the strengthening of the muscles surrounding the back and abdomen. These muscles provide a solid base upon which all other muscles can work upon to initiate movement. By strengthening the core muscles they can be used for injury prevention, rehabilitation and sport performance enhancement.
THE BENEFITS OF CORE STABILITY
- Injury Prevention: Strengthening the core is essential to prevent all forms of injury around the lower back area. By training the core the rest of the muscles in the area i.e. the hamstrings, gluteals, abdominal and back muscles all work more efficiently and together. By strengthening your core the risk of injury caused by over activity is reduced.
- Rehabilitation from injury: Core stability is an essential part of any rehabilitation program not only for low back pain, sacroiliac pain and Gilmore’s Groin but also for other injuries such as hamstring strain and shoulder pain. By providing stability beneath the muscles that provide movement, core stability provides excellent rehabilitative properties for these types of injuries.
- Improving performance: No matter who you are, core stability should be part of your exercise regime. Working on your core can greatly improve balance. In addition it can greatly improve the torsion (twisting) strength that can vastly increase ability and performance in such sports as throwing, tennis, badminton, squash and swimming.
CORE STABILITY EXERCISES
These constitute only a small selection of the exercises that exist to improve core stability. None of those selected here require any special equipment, so you will easily be able to do them all at home or in your room.
a) Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
b) “Crunch” or curl your stomach to lift your shoulders just off the floor.
TIP: Try not to use your hip flexor muscles to carry out this movement, or use your arms to pull up your head
Aim to complete 3 x 30 crunches, with 30 seconds of recovery between sets.
a) Lie on your back. Raise your legs and bend them so that you form a right angle at your hips and your knees. Place your hands gently on the right side of your head.
b) Lift your shoulders off the floor and twist, reaching your right elbow towards your left leg.
c) Return to the floor then repeat, twisting in the opposite direction.
TIP: Take care not to rock. Your hips and legs should stay as still as possible, allowing your trunk to do all of the work.
Aim to complete 3 x 30 crunches (15 on each side per set) with 30 seconds of recovery between sets.
a) Assume a front-support position resting on your fore-arms with your shoulders directly over your elbows.
b) Straighten your legs out behind you and lift up your hips to form a dead-straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. You should be balanced on your fore-arms and toes, with your lower abdomen and back working to keep your body straight. Hold for 1 minute.
Aim to be able to hold this position for 3 x 1 minute.