Key takeaway points:
- Core strength is about the ability to transfer and control your body through movement and underload.
- Core Strength should be REFLEXIVE (automatic) and not forced. Note; this is different to bracing when lifting heavy weights.
- Learning new ways to move is fun, and teaches our mind and body to be more efficient and stronger.
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Core strength is commonly blamed for aches, pains and injury, however, there is no specific definition for what core strength is or how it is measured. We dont particularly like the word ‘core’ as it is commonly misinterpreted to mean doing sit ups and having a 6 pack, a better term (in our opinion!) is trunk stability as the trunk incorporates all the muscles of the mid section and stability means control of movement. Here are our 4 thoughts on ‘Core Strength’.
- Strength is specific. The problem with the term ‘core strength’ is that strength is specific. We can be very strong in one aspect and not so strong in other. For example, maybe we are good at push ups but poor at squatting or maybe can lift heavy weights at the gym but struggle when doing the gardening. Strength is specific to what we train it to be. That means that core strength does not mean much except to the specific area of strength you need.
- ‘Core strength’ should be reflexive. The trunk should be able to stabilize without conscious thought. If all we do for core strength is sit ups, or bracing everytime we do something physical, the core isnt being trained to its potential. If we are to train the core properly we should be training movements that we want to be strong in. Often this will include squats, hinges, lunges, single leg stability as these are fundamental patterns that we use everyday.
- Stability is a balance of control and timing. Most core strength exercises only improve one aspect of stability- strength. However, timing and coordination is probably more important as that is what is required during our everyday activities. If we are not training coordination and timing during our rehab we are not doing our due diligence.
- Stability through play. It is often said that injury occurs from the body not being prepared for the movement that injures it. If we are going to train the core for reasons of injury prevention, then a great way to do that would be through learning to move in new ways. Letting the brain and body move in different ways is a fantastic way to engage the body in strength specific, reflexive stability. Simply pick a movement and practice it, a squat or deadlift, yoga poses, handstands. Literally anything that excites you, try and master it.
Core strength cannot be achieved by one exercise. It also cannot be achieved by only doing strict movements. It should be dynamic and practiced everyday with the long term goal of learning new ways to move.
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