Ever notice that when you are sick and either coughing a lot or throwing up a lot that eventually your stomach muscles get very, very sore? And everything you do hurts those stomach muscles? How about your back? Ever hurt it? Ever notice when it hurts there is nothing you can do that doesn’t hurt? That’s because just about everything you do involves your core muscles. If they are weak or sore, it affects everything you do.
There is a reason that they are called your core muscles, they are the core of every action and movement you do. The laws of physics pretty much them in to play continuously. When you walk, what happens with your arms? They are an equal and opposite reaction to your leg movements to counterbalance everything. What connects your arms to your legs? Your core. When you throw a ball what happens? One are goes forward, one arm back, one leg pushes the other is landed on, and your upper body rotates all through your core. When you lift something you use your arms and legs, but what stabilizes you? Your core. Even standing or just sitting you are using your core muscles, but yet it is probably one of the most neglected parts of the body.
Most of us hate doing sit ups and crunches and back extensions and all of the different exercises that are used to strengthen the core. We’ll work our arms and legs. We run, bike, and swim. We play basketball and soccer. We haul lumber and sheet rock around. Carry fire hoses up ladders. Carry groceries. Carry trays of food and dishes. Stand on our feet all day. All of this can strengthen our other muscles, but usually just fatigues and taxes our core muscles. And when they fatigue, some other muscle has to step in and do their job and that’s when injury occurs.
I often find athletes that are having recurring hip flexor or hamstring problems. They’ll be stretching and icing and working on strengthening those muscle but they keep getting hurt and don’t know why. Upon evaluating them I will just about always discover weak core muscles. Get them started on program to strengthen their core and their problems disappear. Chronic low back problems are often due to poor abdominal strength and tight resulting hip musculature. Working on strengthening the abs coupled with hip flexibility and they’re soon good as new.
Just about everyone can benefit from a good core strengthening program. If you’re not doing one, and haven’t got hurt, it’s most likely just a matter of time. You don’t need a lot of time to work on your core each day, but you do need to actually do it. An athletic trainer can help you access your needs and design a core strengthening program that will have you at your best.
Help protect the safety of our youth athletes. **(petition failed)