Improving Your Core Strength for Performance Enhancement
Core strength is critical to your performance in every single sport. The body’s core includes the back and abdominal muscles. It can be a weak link in many athletes. In runners, having a strong core prevents injuries to other joints including your hips and knees and helps you to drop your time. In cyclists, strong back and abdominal muscles are crucial in getting power to the pedals. Golfers rely on a strong core to help bring distance to their shot as core strength provides them with power by keeping the shoulders and hips working in a coordinated fashion. For our country skiers, a strong core is vital to generating power over long distances while minimizing effort to the rest of the body.
The bottom line is that having a strong core creates stability in your body, allowing you to perform at your highest level. It helps you increase your speed, endurance and power.
How do you increase your core strength? Along with the usual crunches on the exercise mat, here are some basic exercises you can do to increase your core strength for any sport. Many athletes push themselves extremely hard while doing these exercises, I see multiple injuries caused by athletes forcing greater repetitions when their core is not contracting. If you feel the contraction leaving your stomach and going toward your back, gluts or hip flexors, you will injury yourself.
Many times people do not feel they have a strong core because the nerves that come out of the spine which deliver messages to the abdominal muscles are not working properly. When this happens, the core muscles do not contract in a strong and coordinated fashion regardless of how many exercises you do. How do you know if this is happening with you? If you have had chronic back problems or injured your back recently, you can be assured that the power output to the nerves is keeping your muscles from firing to their fullest potential.
A visit to your chiropractor to determine where your spine is impacting your muscle strength is very important to staying in tiptop physical condition so we can stay active and keep enjoying our sports. Call our office today if you find that your spine is causing you to not perform at your best.
Plank Tips from Dr. Lori-the closer your feet are together the tougher this one is! Keep your butt down and in line with your spine. This about bringing your elbows closer to your feet to contract your abs.
Side Plank Tips from Dr. Lori–contract your core at all times–my hips are a little high in this picture to target my obliques.
Mountain Climber Tips from Dr Lori-quickly jump back and forth with your legs (pretty difficult to describe in a photo) keep your core contracted and continue for one minute.
Crunch Tips from Dr. Lori-to avoid injuring your neck, keep your chin tucked back yet leave a little space (think apple) under your chin.