Everyone talks about it, but when challenged few can actually pin down what they mean when they talk about core training. Lets set the scene for how I approach core conditioning. I think this quote should be credited to Mike Boyle. I love this quote and whenever I put this into a presentation I hear a little devil inside my head chanting 'FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT - becasue you know that there is going to be someone in the audience that will take offence to the fact that I'm suggesting physio's are not always the best people to 'train' athletes!
'...much of what has been said about 'core training' has come from physiotherapists - they are experts at getting injured people healthy - they are not experts at training athletes!'
Now I'm not a physio basher, in fact, I've worked with some excellent physiotherapists and I'm sure the good ones will agree with that statement from Mike Boyle. The reason I put that statement up from Mike Boyle is because, traditionally, a lot of what we have come to accept as fact in relation to core training is in fact, based largely on very early research looking at lower back pain. The key thing to remember is that athletes need to be strong and powerful and able to withstand the demands of their sport. Studies by people like Stephen Saunders have shown that the abdominal muscles change function with running speed and that abdominal function is dependent on the nature of the postural and respiratory demands .
We need to get 'functional' with our core training.
Stuart McGill, sums it up quite nicely for me.
'achieving stability is not just a matter of activating a few targeted muscles, be they the multifidis or transversus abdominis or any other. Sufficient stability is a moving target that continually changes as a function of the three-dimensional torques needed to support posture...quantitative data have confirmed that no single abdominal exercise challenges all the abdominal musculature while sparing the back... muscles worked as teams across several joints through many complex tasks...the task and motion must be trained, not a specific muscle...performance training demands that risks be taken that the body systems be overloaded into the razor thin zone brinking on failure...'