Powerful athletic movements initiate with or transfer through your core area.

For example, the best way to increase arm speed is that power needs to be transferred from your legs through your core to your throwing arm.

This will increase your arm speed and throwing miles-per-hour (MPH). Many athletes have strong, powerful legs but weak cores......that will give you a power shortage!

If you have trouble maintaining your running speed during the late stages of a game, you probably have a "core weakness" problem. Core strength is important to help you remain strong and upright when you are running, especially when you are tired.

Adequate core strength helps your speed endurance, which is the ability to maintain maximum velocity or a percentage of maximum velocity for a prolonged period of time or in a fatigued state.The best players and teams have excellent overall body strength, core strength and speed endurance (and they win the most games).

Advanced core exercises should be performed in a standing position because most athletic movements are made on your feet. When you do standing core exercises, you engage all of the trunk and hip stabilizer muscles and not just the abdominals and low back.

For beginning athletes, start with low-intensity exercises and master technique/improve strength. Then you’ll progress to lying, sitting, kneeling, standing, standing on one leg and power (high speed) exercises. Failure to follow these progressions will lead you to certain injuries like low back pain and trauma.

Core exercises (all exercises for that matter) should be performed in all 3 planes of motion (sagittal, frontal, transverse) since athletic movements occur in all 3 planes of motion.

Some medicine ball exercises such as rotational throws (pictured below) and diagonal wood chops engage the core and total body in multiple planes of motion.

Core strength is no doubt the weakest link on most athlete's bodies (and people in general). Why? Because most spend too much time strengthening the limbs (arm and legs).

Strength training should be just the opposite....stabilize and strengthen the core first (where all movement begins) and the limbs last.   Some strength training exercises that also strengthens the core area are squats, deadlift and standing dumbbell or barbell shoulder presses.

Low back injuries and other injuries of the shoulder girdle and torso are usually related to "weak core muscles" or "postural problems."

One painful and slow-healing injury that many athletes suffer is the oblique muscle strain or pull.This type of injury is usually incurred when doing a twisting or rotating movement such as swinging a bat/racket, rotating explosively, etc. The obliques are part of your core and can be strengthened with exercises like planks, bentover dumbbell rows and medicine ball exercises.

Don't ignore the core!

Be sure and download your Free Bodyweight 500 Metabolic Fat Burner Workout and start changing your body faster!

Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
Sports Fitness Hut