Friday, 18 June, 2010 - by Rebekah Barnes
How important is Core Strength?
Craig McGarry, Head Trainer at Casuarina Rec Club explains...
Everybody has heard some time or another of the importance of Core Strength or has seen the latest machine that ‘develops an amazing core’, but what is it really all about?
Very simply the term ‘Core Muscles’ refers to the multitude of muscles that support the Spine. Strengthened, balanced and used effectively the Core Muscles provide amazing support for the spine; they reduce the stress placed on specific lower back muscles and the spine itself, improve general body posture and alignment and dramatically increase the bodys ability to generate smooth and powerful movements by simply increasing stability (allowing the big muscles of the body to work more efficiently).
In sport the Core Muscles provide a critical component for strong powerful movement, the fundamental building block for activities like: the speed and control in a Golf Swing, Hockey or Cricket Strike, smooth, powerful and fluent directional changes in sports such as Surfing, Skateboarding, Snow Skiing and Waterskiing, impact support in the variety of Contact Sports and
postural support in Dancing, Swimming, Running, Gymnastics and Cycling.
Whilst elements of body movement in nearly all sports can be attributed in some way to the efficient activation of the Core Muscles, the majority of daily movement involved in lifting, sitting and standing can be enhanced by training the bodies Core Muscles. It is a well known fact that a large percentage of back pain suffering can be reduced by simply increasing both your actual Core Strength and the ability to activate this strength efficiently!
The Simple Crunch – take an exercise like the Crunch, which is fairly easy on the ground, add a Fitball and it delivers another dimension to the movement. Now all the Core Muscles are being activated and the body is challenged to work much more efficiently and effectively. For an advanced movement take one leg off the ground and twist to touch the knee to opposite elbow (as per image).
Start with the feet as close as possible together (this will get closer as you get stronger)
Be as light as possible on your feet (as far back on the ball, just short of the balance point)
Maintain tension by only going half way up on the crunch movement
Always maintain sound technique (stop if this begins to falter)
Move onto advanced movements only when competent on the simpler ones
To improve your sport performance or simply your current quality of life and movement, drop by Casuarina Rec Club on Barclay Drive (off the Tweed Coast Road) and have a chat to one of the experienced Fitness Trainers.