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How Core Stabilization Translates to Sport Performance

Properly challenging the core musculature through resistance and stability training techniques for adaptations related to sport performance is currently a topic of debate. To ascertain what methods could be considered optimal, one must first understand muscle action inherent to the core region of the body. The core does not simply refer to the abdominal musculature as many believe, but is actually a functional group of muscles that act on the spine and pelvis. The core of the human body constitutes all of the lumbopelvic musculature and is utilized to maintain proper body alignment and protect the spine. A few of the major muscle groups and functional connective tissues that are emphasized when enhancing core function include: the rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques, erector spinae which serve prime movement and phasic energy transfer and the diaphragm, thoracolumbar fascia, multifidus, transverse abdominis and pelvic floor which stabilize both static and dynamic action. These groups are further coupled with muscle actions of the hip including both flexors and extensors. When stability, range of motion, and/or balance in one (or any number) of these muscle groups becomes compromised, an individual may have reduced ability to efficiently transfer force through the trunk to the upper or lower extremities. Essentially, force capacity may be lost during movements utilizing the entire kinetic chain. Due to the need for ground reaction force transfer, energy loss along the kinetic chain presents a predominant challenge in optimizing the efficiency of the often complex movements demanded in competitive sports. For this reason core stabilization has been indicated as an important aspect of athletic conditioning.

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