Through the course of this series I have covered what the core is, what makes up the core, and the function of the core. Today is Part 4 in this series on “The Core” and I am going to do a “Needs Analysis” to see what it is that actually needs to be trained in the core. This series is put together in a specific order. If I were to do a needs analysis before talking about what it is I am analyzing this would be a foreign language to anybody reading it. Also understanding core function plays a big part in doing a needs analysis as I am going to have to take a look at both the stabilization system and the movement system. So let’s get started.
Needs Analysis of the Core
From the previous post it should be clear that the stabilization system is important in all movements to maintain posture and transference of force, but how is that trained. So in order for the core to provide strong posture and transfer force there are isometric contractions and eccentric loading while moving through all planes of motion. For example, if you pick your foot up (such as during the swing phase of gait) the core is loaded eccentrically (challenging the isometric contractions in the core) to prevent the hip from dropping. I mention this because movement and stability goes hand in hand. Now that we know that, the top priority of any core training is proper posture…and that has to be trained. Then once proper postural alignment is learned and strengthened the next step is to challenge the body’s ability to maintain that alignment under the external stress of movement. This is easily done with a protuberance of a limb. This will challenge the ability of the core stability system to overcome a shift in the Center Of Gravity (COG). (Fun Fact: This shifting of the COG is the basis of any progressions in stability training.) This will train the ability to maintain proper alignment while the movement system transfers force through the core.
After a good stability base has been developed then it’s time to train the movement system of the core. Remember from the previous post that the movement system decelerates and accelerates movement through the core such as in throwing a ball. When a pitcher cocks the arm back then steps forward the core is eccentrically loaded and deceleration of the force form the leg and arm happens then after the wind up and step comes the acceleration of the actual throwing movement. The space between the hip on the side that the leg stepped forward with and the shoulder that was cocked back starts to close and initiates then accelerates the movement. This is pretty much how the core works to some extent in everything we do, decelerate then accelerate while the stabilization system maintains posture. Something else that needs to be mentioned here is that the core rarely, if ever, moves in a single plane and in the example of the baseball pitch the body is moving in a combination of the saggital and transverse planes. So when training the movement system, always train not only in all the planes of motion but also in combine the planes, this forms the basis of functional training (training in combined planes of motion simultaneously).
So quickly recap what was just covered, the core needs to withstand movement and the movement system needs to decelerate and accelerate movement in that order. This forms the basis for any type of core training. In the next post in the series I am going to cover how to train the core based on some of the information already presented.
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