The core is our body’s powerhouse which is used for stability, balance and of course power! Our core does not consist of only our abdominals.
It also includes our glutes, obliques and the erector spinal muscles. When training, it is crucial to train all of them to improve balance and stability as well as generate power while playing.
A strong core not only makes a sportsperson more efficient but will also help in minimizing injuries.
While training, a sportsperson should focus on three things which are as follows:
- Core bracing: Core bracing is important because it helps all the muscles, superficial as well as deep muscles to work together to produce the stability required while playing.
- Core anti-rotational movement: This helps the athlete to resist an external force (like force exerted from another player) and maintain stability while playing.
- Core rotational movement: Core rotational movement is when force is produced during rotation like striking, kicking a ball, throwing and the like.
Here are exercises categorised as core bracing, core anti-rotational movement and core rotational movement. These are extremely beneficial when included in a sportsperson’s training routine.
While performing these exercises, make sure that your hips are tucked in and stomach is pushed out so that the lower back is completely flat.
Lie down on your back with arms extended straight above your shoulders and knees bend at a 9-degree angle. The lower back should have 100% contact with the floor. Keeping your head and shoulders down, fully extend the opposite hand and leg and then back. Repeat on the other side. To make it harder, hold 2 lightweight plates in both hands.
Lie down on your back again with the lower back straight and in contact with the floor. The legs and arms will be extended and off the floor. Make sure that the shoulder is off the floor as well. Hold that position for as long as you can. You can also rock forward and backwards while maintaining the body’s hollow position.
If the core is not braced during athletic movements, the body tends to compensate by using other joints and muscles which can cause injuries.
Core anti-rotational movements:
These exercises use an external object which our body resists in order to maintain balance and stability. It is important to recruit the core muscles while doing these.
Use a resistance band and tie it around a stable object like a pole. Hold the band with both hands and walk laterally away from the pole to get some resistance. With the legs hip-width apart, press the band out and back in. Resist the pull the band and don’t let your hips rotate.
High plank pull through:
Get on a high plank position. Keep a dumbbell on one side and start by pulling it with the opposite hand to the other side. Repeat the same movement on both sides. While doing this make sure that the core is braced and the hips don’t drop from side to side.
Core rotational movements:
These exercises will help generate power when the body is in a rotation.
Lie down on the floor with both arms extended laterally. Lift your legs straight up to the ceiling and drop it from side to side without lifting your arms and shoulders off the floor. This looks like a car’s windscreen wiper in action.
Medicine ball rotational throws:
Take a medicine bass and stand sideways at a distance from a wall. Throw the ball while rotating towards the wall and resist the movement back after catching the ball. Make sure that your stance is shoulder width apart or slightly wider. This is an explosive exercise so throw the ball as hard as you can on both sides.
Try these exercises by incorporating them into your weekly workout regime. Core work is often misunderstood as abdominal work and that is clearly not accurate. A strong core helps the body function better, enhances performance and minimises injuries.