Core training is not a fad yet it is often poorly understood and incorporated into training programs. Here are some quick tips to ensure you engage the core properly to minimize the chances of injury and reap the rewards of a strong and stable core.
The first thing to consider when establishing proper core position is posture. We want to have the head neutral, the chest up, shoulders down and back and hips level with a small curve in the lower back. From the side view if your belt line points down too much toward the front you may have excessive arch in the lumbar spine i.e. the lower back. Ideally we want the belt line to be parallel with the ground or slightly down.
So how do we determine the amount of arch in the lower back? We do this by placing the hands on the lower back, fingers towards the middle, and thumbs on the hips. As you arch back and look at the ceiling you should feel the muscles of the lower back relax. Conversely as you round forward and look towards the floor you should feel the muscles of the lower back contract. Now slowly stand up and arch back but stop at the point where you feel the muscles relax again. At this point ensure that the joints above and below the hips are neutral and you will be on track for ensuring core stability in your training.
Keep training for your peak!
Chris Collins holds a Master of Science degree (M.Sc.) in physiology and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS). Based out of Kelowna, BC he operates Okanagan Peak Performance which serves to minimize the potential for injury while enhancing performance. Chris is the most recent two-time recipient of the 'Top Trainer' in the central Okanagan, is a contributor to a number of fitness publications and a consultant to Olympic, professionals and collegiate athletes and teams. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org