As humans, we love to move, and core strength is a vital part of movement. From golfing to downhill skiing, and even standing up, the core muscles in our anterior (front) and posterior (back) help control our coordination and can improve our lives.
What is the core?
It’s located from your shoulders and runs down to your hips. It wraps our body in 360 degrees of muscle that can accelerate, decelerate, flex, extend, and rotate our skeleton through space.
How does it work?
Imagine a golfer. As the golfer stands over the ball ready to hit it down the fairway, the core is holding the upper body at an angle relative to the ground. In this position, core muscles contain potential energy ready to be released into a crushing drive. As the body rotates the into a backswing, the core muscles control speed and position with which the ball is hit. Similarly on the follow-through, the golfer’s rotational core muscles contract rapidly, rotating the body around and through the ball on the same path. Core strength determines how far the drive goes.
Core strength also plays an important role in downhill skiing. As the skier glides over the snow, core stability is maintaining body position. Legs and feet rotate through the hips to control speed, but the core muscles are stabilizing the spine to optimize weight distribution against gravity. As the skier approaches the moguls on the run, the core muscles are challenged even further. Allowing the knees to act as shock absorbers, the core is again stabilizing the impact from each mogul skied over. Moguls require core muscles to contract and relax in succession faster and with more intensity than during a simple downhill run.
Using your core every day
A need for core strength is obvious to see in activities such as golf and downhill skiing. It’s easily overlooked in everyday activities, however. Getting out of the car, climbing stairs, and even standing up all require some form of core strength. Without core strength, you’re prone to low back pain, poor posture, poor balance, and at a greater risk of injury. A weak core will eventually affect everything you do.
Test your core strength
How long can you hold a plank? Get into a plank position so that your weight is evenly distributed from your arms and elbows to your toes. Keep your hips level with the rest of your body. If you can’t hold this position for at least 30 seconds, your core is probably too weak.
Written by Tyler Morgan, Personal Trainer