Let's put core training at THE core of our training. pt 1.
The core is the key element of our body that connects everything together from a performance perspective. In fact there are so few sports that don't require core strength that they aren't worth mentioning.
Any power based sport that requires coordination, pushing, pulling, twisting, acceleration, deceleration and quick reaction requires a solid base and that is where the role of the core comes in.
A common belief is that the core is just the muscles of the rectus abdominals (ABS), but the reality is
they are a multi layer and multi-faceted group of muscles that work in synergy to provide both a solid and dynamic framework that supports the spine, carries the weight of everything above it including our shoulders, arms and head and it enables us to generate and absorb rotational force.
Most people complete their core routines at the end of a session, and more often than not it's for aesthetic reasons rather than performance enhancing, postural or pain management reasons and will generally consist of x amount of sit ups, x amount of oblique crunches and perhaps some dorsal raises or the use of an exercise ball if there's enough left in the tank.
Now although these exercises are not bad, they're also not the most effective way of training your core.
In order to effectively improve your core strength, you need to integrate exercises that use your whole body in your workouts, try combining a push and a pull whilst remaining stable and make your torso work doubly hard.
Or how about carrying things above your head? This will challenge your deep core musculature to resist the force that's bearing down on your whole body and it will also enable you to train in an upright posture, rather than being crunched up on a matt performing an exercise that is only going to make your posture worse. These can be performed with anything, tyres, bars and medicine balls will do the trick. Hopefully this introduction to core training will have given you some food for thought. Look out for PT 2. where the effects of core training on posture and pain reduction will be explained.