THE IMPORTANCE OF CORE STRENGTHENING
What is the "core"?
The "core" is a word used to define the musculature of our abdominal, lumbar and pelvic region, representing the most important basic muscle component for the stability of our body in sports and day-to-day activities.
Covered by this "core" we can include several muscles, but we highlight the most known and important:
- Abdominal Transversal - Muscle with a shape similar to a belt around the abdominal, is one of the main responsible for the stability of the spine;
- Multifid - Muscle that runs along the sides of the lumbar vertebrae, also very important in the stability of the spine;
- Pelvic Floor - Set of muscles that cover the base of the pelvis;
- Diaphragm - Despite being the muscle responsible for breathing, its control also plays an important role in stability, especially in running;
- Buttocks - Of great importance in the stability of the pelvis, both in moments of impulse and in the phases of support in the race.
Because it's important?
When we exercise, whether running or something simpler like lifting a weight or climbing stairs, we need our body to be stable and provide a good basis for movement. If we do not have a good core stability, the whole gesture will be compromised, resulting in compensations and misalignments in the movement.
How to strengthen the ‘core’
The already known sit-ups or planks are widely used to strengthen the core. However, in the vast majority of times, this work is done without guidance and without respecting the basic principles, losing its effectiveness and in general presenting few results.
To strengthen and give stability to the “core” we must respect some principles:
- Contract the right muscle - namely the Transverse one, we must be able to recruit it without substitutions or compensations, namely from the diaphragm or rectus abdominis. One way to recruit him is to imagine a drawer in his lower abdomen and close it or imagine that we are tightening a belt and maintaining normal breathing at the same time.
- Evolving in exercises from simple to complex, from static to dynamic - in addition to being able to do more exercise time, we can also progress to exercises with postures in greater imbalance and / or more dynamic with associated but controlled movements , but always paying attention not to make it too difficult.
- This strengthening should always be done without pain - pain is one of the main inhibitors of stabilizing muscles.
- Keep the lower back and pelvis in a neutral position - regardless of the exercises, we should always try to keep the spine in a neutral and stable position; if this is not possible, the exercise will be too advanced.
We can apply these principles and use countless different exercises in our strength.
To make a difference, the strengthening of “core” must be varied and appropriate to our level and, in the specific case of the race, have a special impact on the Transversum and the Buttocks.
It is advisable to do muscle and core strengthening at least once a week if you run three times that week or, if you run more, twice a week.