Core training is a hot topic as of late. It is a favorite new “buzzword” for many fitness professionals, various media and people in gyms all over the world. This type of training is nothing new however, and has been used to create powerful athletes for decades. A strong core is not only of absolute significance for great athletic performance, it is also helpful for non-athletes, stay-at-home-moms, corporate professionals, geriatrics, pediatrics, baby boomers and anyone desiring optimal fitness health. Whether you are an avid fitness enthusiast or not, you will benefit from a strong core.
Let’s discuss just what the core is and why core strength is so very important. The core is comprised of nearly 30 different muscles that basically wrap around your body in the area between your hips and ribcage. Try to think your body divided into two halves, the lower half and the upper half. The area in between those two halves, the core, can be thought of as a ‘bridge’ that connects the two. It is that bridge, that connection, which allows the upper and lower body to work together. When the core is not trained or is generally weak, there is definitely something missing in the functionality of the body. However, a conditioned core is a strong and sturdy part of the body. Further, a strong core creates a sense and look of confidence, poise and overall physical strength.
It may go unnoticed and whether you realize it or not, you almost never make a move without using your core. You use your core when you walk up and down stairs, bend down to pick something up, walk up a small hill…literally just about everything! It is your core that automatically engages and provides you with balance and stability.
With regard to athletic performance, a strong, powerful and stable core makes all the difference. As you move through your sport of choice, you are using your body at its most functional state and as a whole. The lower and upper halves work together in order to effectively run, hit, twist and throw. It is your core that is the basis for all of this movement and the strength or weakness of your core will dictate the strength and/or weakness of your athletic (and functional) movements.
Athletics and life require good balance and your balance comes from your core. Core training is easy to add into the training that you are already doing and it does not require expensive gym equipment. Core training is creative, challenging and innovative and it’s also fun…yes, FUN! Of course, it is the results that are the best part. The body is an amazing thing and it is capable of doing amazing things but for that to happen, you need to work with it, not against it. You need to train it, not punish it. Keep in mind that neglect is also a form of punishment.