Last update August 1, 2010 9:34 PM          Email us
 

Core Stability Advice

Before starting this section I must state that I in no way claim to be a trainer or carry any qualifications, this section is based on my own knowledge which comes from years of training in the gym, studying books, researching on the internet and training in martial arts, what is contained on these pages are merely hints, tips, suggestions and information that may assist you in your training regime, at a later date when we have a new fitness centre manager in place I will be asking him/her to add to these pages any features that they feel may be of assistance with members training routines.

One of the main things that I have noticed over many years of training is that a lot of people tend to concentrate on the muscle groups that are on show i.e. Pecs, biceps, lats and tend to ignore the muscles that are generally considered more important which are the core muscles. Not only do I regularly see people training in such a way as to risk injury, but by training with correct posture and knowledge muscle growth can be increased dramatically just by using the core muscles to aid posture and concentrate the work on the muscles it is supposed to be working.

Core stability is extremely important for avoiding injury not only while training but in general everyday activities.

“Core stability” describes the ability to control the position and movement of The central portion of the body. Core stability training targets the muscles Deep within the abdomen which connect to the spine, pelvis and shoulders,
Which assist in the maintenance of good posture and provide the foundation? For all arm and leg movements.

THE CHAIN IS ONLY AS STRONG AS ITS WEAKEST LINK.

In other words if you don't train your core muscles as well as your main muscle groups eventually something will fail, this can come especially in the form of lower back pain.

Just to give you an idea which areas that you should be looking at, below are some body maps and information for your assistance.

Rectus Abdominis

Rectus abdominis controls the tilt of the pelvis and curvature of the lower spine. It also tilts pelvis forward improving the mechanical positioning of the Erector Spinae.

Transverse Abdominis / Obliques

The Obliques and the Transversus Abdominis increase the intra-abdominal pressure necessary for the support of the vertebral column in some exercises. With the assistance of the Rectus Abdominis and Obliques, the Tranvers Abdominis hold the abdomen flat.
File:Illu trunk muscles.jpg

Quadratus Lumborum

Activated with other muscles when pelvis elevates when standing on one leg and position of body relative to gravity is altered (as when standing on wobble board). Initially assists in rotation to neutral position only when waist is initially significantly rotated.
File:Gray1124.png

Erector Spinae

It is really not just one muscle, but a bundle of muscles and tendons . It is paired and runs more or less vertically. It extends throughout the lumbar, thoracic and cervical regions, and lies in the groove to the side of the vertebral column .
Erector Spinae is covered in the lumbar and thoracic regions by the lumbodorsal fascia , and in the cervical region by the nuchal ligament .

File:Gray389.png

All these body maps and others are available for further study on Wikipedia.

Below are a some excercises and links to assist with core training, try to spend part of each training session working these areas, ideally fit them in with your warm up or cool down period at the start/end of your session, or if you prefer, do them at home, most core excercises require no equipment and a full workout routine can easily be planned out.

Static Floor Exercises

Plank

Chinese Press upHold a straight body position, supported on elbows and toes. Brace the abdominals and maintain a straight body line through feet, hips and head.

Side plank

Lie on one side, ensuring the top hip is above the bottom hip. Push up until there is a straight body line through feet, hips and head. Keep the elbow under the shoulder. Lower under control and repeat on opposite side.

Bridge

Lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Squeeze your gluteus and then push your hips up until there is a straight line through knee and hip to upper body and shoulders remain on the floor.

Superman

Kneel on the floor and place your hands below your shoulders and knees below your hips. Extend right leg back and the left arm forward. Maintain a straight body line through extended leg, body and extended arm. Repeat with opposite limbs

Dynamic Floor Exercises

Side lying hip abduction

Lie on your side with your top hip above the lower hip. Brace the abdominals and lift the top leg slowly up and down.

Oblique crunch

Lie on your back with your right ankle resting on your left knee. Right arm is placed on the floor out to the side. Keeping the right shoulder down, curl the left shoulder up to the right knee. Repeat with opposite limbs.

Straight leg raise

Lie on your back with knees bent. Brace your abdominals and lift your legs up straight in the air to an angle of 45 degrees keeping you back on the ground. Keeping one leg in the air, slowly lower the other down to the floor. Only go as far as you can until you feel the lumbar spine start to move. Keep bracing the abdominals and then lift the leg slowly back up. Repeat with the other leg.

Lying windscreen wipers

Lie on your back with arms out to the sides. Lift your legs straight up in the air until the hips are at 90 degrees. Keeping your legs straight and maintaining the hip angle, rotate the legs to one side. Go as far as you can keep your upper back and shoulders on the floor. Bring the legs to a halt, pull them back up to the start position and then over to the other side.

Medicine Ball Exercises

Sit-up and throw

You either need a partner to receive and pass the ball, or perform the exercise in front of a wall and use a medicine ball that will bounce back. Start in the sit-up position (knees bent) with hands up ready to receive the ball. Catch the ball and begin to lower back down. Control the movement with the abdominals and keep your hands above your head as you lower down. Once the shoulders are touching the floor sit back up and throw the ball forward at the same time.

Sit and twist pass

Start in the sit-up position, knees bent feet flat on the floor. Your feet, knees and hips should remain reasonably still throughout this exercise, the rotation coming from your waist and not your hips. Hold your hands to one side ready to receive the ball. Catch the ball to that side and absorb the catch by turning your shoulders further to that side. Reverse the rotation turning back to the middle and release the ball. Continue rotating to the other side; receive the ball on the other side and continue.

45-degree sit, catch and pass

Start in the sit up position with knees bent and lean back at 45 degrees. Raise your hands in front of your face and receive a pass from a partner, around face height. As you catch the ball you must maintain your body position and gently throw the ball back.

One leg catch and pass

Stand on one leg with your hips square to the front. Hold your hands up ready to catch the ball which should be varied in their placement catch the ball and throw it back. Aim to move arms and/or turn your shoulders only.

One leg twist pass

Stand on one leg with hips facing square to the front. Hold medicine ball in one hand slightly out in front. Slowly twist from side to side. The rotation comes from the waist only (not the hips), head turning with the shoulders.

Side touch downs

Start by sitting on the ground with knees bent, feet flat on the floor and holding the ball in both hands. Raise your feet off the ground and balance on your bottom. Rotate at the waist to your right and touch the ground by your right hip with the ball, lift the ball up, rotate to the left side and touch the ground by your left hip with the ball, lift the ball up and continue keeping your feet up off the ground.

Kneeling twist pass

Kneel upright with good posture. Twist the shoulders, arms and head round as far as you can to the right (start position). Partner passes you the ball. Twist round to the left side as far as possible and hand the ball to a partner. Turn back to the start position, receive the ball and continue.
Things to remember when doing core stability exercises:
1. Do not let your whole stomach tense up. If your upper abominable muscles
“Bulge” outwards it means you have cheated by using the large rectus abdominus
(Six pack) instead of the Transversus abdominus (lower abdominals).
2. Do not brace your lower abdominals too hard; a gentle contraction will suffice.
You are trying to improve endurance rather than maximum strength. Only
Clench them about 50%.
3. Do not hold your breath as this is a signal that you are not relaxed. You must
Learn to breathe normally since you will need to breathe when you are running!
4. It is a good idea to do core stability as part of your cool down after running, or
On a cross-training day.

I find that YouTube is an excellent way to find out info for training purposes; I have listed some links below to give you an idea, some that I use on YouTube regularly are;

Ace fitness
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOv2TDLv8wU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHlUdOVpv1I


Fitnessvip
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFth3Fzc8io&feature=related


Expertvillage
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYl-vdy7Fcg&feature=fvw

I hope all this assists you with your training, stay healthy stay fit and train safe.

Gaz

 
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