3 Functions of The Core
When you think of core training what comes to mind?
Crunches and sit ups.
That’s what I thought core training should be too before I learned more about the functions of the core.
So, what does the core do?
1) Initiate Breathing
Breath is a prerequisite to life; it’s the first thing we do when we enter the world. People can go roughly three days without water, three weeks without food (ghandi once fasted for 21 days) but the longest anyone has gone without breathing is an unbelievable 24 minutes by Aleix Segura Vendrell back in 2016. Your breath is the foundation of core function and performance. With improper breathing patterns your inner core cannot optimally activate and sequence.
2) Postural Control
Proper breath sequencing and muscle activation centers your joints providing postural support and stability at each engaged joint. When you combine inefficient sequencing and long bouts of sitting at a desk, your ligaments, tendons, and joint structures search for the position of most stability, which typically causes you to adopt a poor posture.
3) Energy Transfer
Your trunk is made to stabilize, allowing you to transfer force from your limbs bottom-up or top down. “Core stability” is the ability to control the position and motion of the trunk to allow optimum production, transfer, and control of force and motion. So, the main responsibility is to prevent flexion, extension and rotation -- not create it.
People tend to mostly focus on flexion and extension based exercise and ignore the rotational job of the core. One exercise I use to resist trunk rotation is the pallof press.
While high rep sets of crunches will make your abs feel sore, it has little functional carryover to sport or life. If you are an athlete that plays a rotational heavy sport like baseball, golf, tennis etc., doing crunches as your only core work is simply not going to get the job done, and it may even do more harm than good.
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