Core Training for Athletes
Every athlete has a goal to generate more power. If you look at a typical training program, you’ll find an array of exercises. Squats, deadlifts, sprints, etc are a staple. But what about the core?
The core has two main functions: transferring energy from the center of the body to the lower extremities and stabilizing the spine and pelvis to protect from injury.
When you understand the function of the core muscles, it helps to understand ways to train it effectively.
The first goal is stabilization. This typically involves a stress placed on the core and forces the athlete to brace and overcome the load. My favorite way of doing this is with isometric exercises such as:
- Bird Dogs
- Palof Press Holds
- Farmers Carries
The goal of the above exercises is to force the core to brace and stabilize. It recruits the core stabilizing muscles such as the transversus abdominis, obliques, erector spinae and rectus abdominis. These exercises require the body to hold itself or an object in a fixed position while keeping the core in a neutral position.
The second goal of the core muscles is to transfer energy from the core to the lower extremities. When running, if the core muscles aren’t transferring energy, you won’t be able to maximize your speed and explosiveness. The best way to train these are through the following movement patterns:
These movements require a bit more skill, but can be scaled to fit any level of athlete. These exercises can be modified to become sport specific and help meet the demands of any athlete.
The Missing Link
The #1 most overlooked aspect of athlete core training is hip flexion and extension. Our hips are designed to have a wide range of motion. Extended hours of sitting, improper training and overuse result in poor mobility and function of the hip muscles. The following exercises help to combat weak hip flexors.
- Hanging Leg Raise
- Low Cable Pull-In
- Standing Weighted Hip Raise
Ditch the standard sit-ups and crunches if you want to get stronger. Focus on these philosophies and build an All-Star core!