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Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.



Benefits of developing the core

By Tom Seabourne, Scott Cole

Improving the core offers many benefits, but we focus on six major benefits: core control, balance, strength, endurance, power, and speed.

  • Core control. Imagine a piece of string tied around your waist at all times. This imaginary string should not be broken during any movement. This requires that you maintain a constant contraction of your abdominal muscles, especially your transversus abdominis.
  • Proprioception (balance). Can you keep your balance while kneeling on a stability ball? After training for a month on this program, you should notice a significant improvement in your balance. Check your balance by standing on one leg with the other foot off the floor. Hold for 30 seconds. Try the other leg. Now close your eyes. Open your eyes and continue standing on one leg while you toss a ball of your choice back and forth to a partner. Now recite the Gettysburg Address (just kidding).
  • Strength. Our program strengthens the entire core so that every activity is easier and more efficient. The pool exercises and dynamic strength exercises using your own body weight as resistance require that you generate strength from your core.
  • Endurance. You may not know it, but standing, walking, or any movement involves core muscular endurance. Core muscular endurance can be developed while waiting in line or sitting on an airplane. It is all about learning to contract the abdominals isometrically. Press your lower back into your chair by contracting your abdominal muscles. Hold for 10 seconds. Add 2 seconds a week until you can maintain a core contraction for 30 seconds (or until you wear out the fabric of the chair).
  • Power. After you have improved your endurance, control, balance, and dynamic strength, it is time to work on power. Even if you do not consider yourself an athlete, a powerful core will help you sprint, carry a suitcase, or sprint while carrying a suitcase. Our plyometric training will develop your core power.
  • Speed. The reason many of our exercises begin slowly and speed up with progression is that people who always move slowly in training move slowly in performance too. That is why it is advisable to train at different speeds. Your performance improvement depends on how you train. If you always move slowly, what happens when you must sprint to a bus? Either you injure yourself or you miss the bus.

This is an excerpt from Athletic Abs.

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