Core Stability in Athletes
Updated: Jan 15
Your core is a complex group of muscles, extending far beyond your abs or the so-called “six pack.” Many of the true core muscles are hidden beneath the exterior musculature people typically train at the gym.
Major Core Muscles:
Pelvic floor muscles
Internal and external obliques
Minor Core Muscles:
What Is the Function of Core Musculature?
Your core is involved in almost EVERY daily movement that you do whether you are aware of it or not. The core functions as a unit to produce force, reduce force, stabilize the entire kinetic chain, and transfer energy developed by the lower extremities to upper extremities. Core strength can be thought of as the “central strength” of your body. In order to perform any activity that requires force, your body will first engage the central muscles surrounding the torso prior to initiating movement through the limbs. The body’s muscles are all connected through a kinetic chain that is stabilized by the central core muscles. In order to generate a force, a stable base is required.
What Are Some Benefits of Training Your Core?
Reduced Injury Risk
Studies show that adequate core strength can help prevent injuries to the ankles, knees, shoulders, elbows, and even hamstrings. And it’s not just in specific settings. We see that core control reduces injuries among athletes in basketball, baseball, soccer, and many other sports. And one of the major aspects of rehab for any injury is a focus on core strengthening. Studies show that adequate core strength can help:
Reduce soccer players chances of ankle injuries by 25%.
Reduce the chance of all-sport ACL tears by 25%.
Reduce the risk of all injuries in NCAA basketball players.
Reduce the risk of hamstring tears by 20% or more in soccer players.
Reduced risk of shoulder and elbow injuries in baseball pitchers by 66%.
Better Athletic Performance
You’d be hard-pressed to find a sport that doesn’t rely on core strength for performance. For example, core exercises can keep runners’ legs and arms from tiring quickly. Rowers engage their cores as they paddle; a stronger core allows them to pull harder and faster.
Baseball pitchers get the power for their curveballs as much from their cores as they do their arms—maybe more. Your core is the link between your upper and lower body. It is what allows a golfer to swing the club to strike a ball, or a tennis player to serve and optimize her racquet speed. It’s critical to sports performance.
Poor balance is a complicated condition, but lower body weakness, vestibular dysfunction and neurological deficits are often contributing factors. Studies have shown that dynamic balance improves as core strength increases.
Core-strengthening exercises work all of the muscles of the torso from top to bottom and front to back, helping you stand tall with your limbs in alignment. By improving posture you decrease your risk of disc herniation and vertebrae degeneration. Another benefit to better posture? Better breathing. That same balance that helps you stand up straight also opens your airway, making inhalations and exhalations easier.
How Does A Weak Core Lead To Injury?
When the core is unable to adequately stabilize the lumbopelvic region, appropriate trunk and hip posture cannot be maintained and balance and control during movement is compromised. With a weakened foundation, excessive forces are seen through individual joints, which can lead to injury. This can occur suddenly, as in tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee, or gradually, as in wearing down the cartilage in a joint and developing arthritis.
How can I know if my core is dysfunctional?
Great question! The only tried and true way to do this is to get a thorough assessment performed by a trained professional. Similar to having your blood pressure taken or getting regular blood work done at the doctor’s office, certified health professionals can regularly assess your musculoskeletal system and movement patterns to ensure they are within optimum ranges. That’s where Aviator Sports Performance & Rehabilitation comes in!
Aviator Sports Performance and Rehabilitation is deeply rooted in the scientific study of human movement and the innovative integration of technology into practice, ultimately aiming to help patients, athletes/clients in maintaining healthy, fit lifestyles, reduce injury risk, and achieve higher levels of sports performance. Our highly trained staff (Composed of Doctors of Physical Therapy, Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialists & Biomechanic Specialists) & state-of-the-art movement screening services can help identify any significant abnormal movement patterns or strength limitations present, and work to provide our clients with a fully customized corrective action plan to mitigate injury risk and help improve performance.
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