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Cal South E-News | October 2012 PERFORMANCE TRAINING

October 23, 2012


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CB3 Sports Performance

Gaining a Better Understanding of the Core

by Jay Mathews | CB3 Sports Performance

What is the core? How do we define it and how do we train it? There are as many definitions of the core as there are ways to train it. Instead of trying to define one answer to what the core is, we choose an approach that integrates all the functions of the core and then incorporates those functions into the movement patterns we train. The core can be activated with exercises that start on the ground (planks) all the way through exercises that involve standing on unstable objects (BOSU Ball). When we take this approach, we incorporate core training into almost every movement we are doing, replicating what the core does naturally in function. There will be times we need to isolate and correct for faulty mechanics or weakness, but that is beyond the scope of this article.

Author performing Core Stabilization exercise.

Author performing Advanced Rotary Core exercise.

Most of the early training of the core was developed around the thought that our core was our abs and all we needed to do was sit-ups to train this area. Not much thought was given to the muscles of the back, the upper legs and hips, the obliques, the intrinsic muscles of our spine, glutes, and more. We have now progressed way beyond this notion and use various types of equipment and apparatus to perform core exercises. The bottom line remains, what does your athlete need and what do you have available to train core function?

The core serves many functions. It transmits forces from our lower body to our upper body and from our upper body to our lower body; some examples include throwing, kicking, jumping, hitting, swinging, etc. It provides us stability with exercises, as well as mobility. It helps to keep us upright against gravity and it helps with rotary motions. It also provides a brace for heavy exertional exercises and protects our spine when we move. And of all these functions, the one you are performing at that time is the most important.

Author performing Core Knee Drive on unstable object.

The needs of each group of athletes will determine the best method to use for core training. Spinal stability, anti-rotation, anti-extension, anti-flexion, rotary exercises, med balls, kettle bells, Swiss balls and so on are all used in core training. What tools you use and what exercises you choose should be based off of the function of the athlete and how that training will improve their function. It is best to build a menu of exercises and figure out how best to incorporate those into your sessions based on your athlete's needs. By making the menu, you identify different exercises and purposes, and can implement them as needed.

Categories for core exercises can be broken down into body part, muscle or joint, or by movement action or opposing movement action. When building your menu, consideration of the following joints and muscles needs to factor into your categories: hip, pelvis, trunk, and spine, low back, mid back, gluteal muscles, and abdominal muscles. Functions of each also need to be considered: flexion, extension, rotation, side bending, abduction, adduction, or some combination of all the movements.

About CB3 Sports Performance:

CB3 is a multi-sport training center focusing on sports performance programs for every athlete and soccer skills coaching. Carlos Bocanegra, Captain of the 2010 USA World Cup Team, has brought his passion and love sport back to the I.E. Carlos has brought together a team of top level professional coaches and trainers to help train you to improve your skills and athletic ability. The mission of CB3 Sports Performance and Soccer Academy is to provide an elite level environment through coaching, fitness, and performance to empower the athlete to reach their ultimate potential. The building blocks to success at CB3 are built on the principles of Dedication, Determination, and Discipline. For more information, visit http://cb3sportsperformance.com/.