May 112010

If you want to be a viable athlete, you need to learn how to develop your core strength properly. While you normally have various factors around your body’s health that determine your performance, core strength is alone one of the most important ones. Having well-developed core muscles is essential for your overall performance while training, as they’re responsible for transferring power between your lower and upper body.

Also, having a well-developed and strong core will help you prevent various injuries, mostly back-related ones – it’s very important for a good athlete to make sure this does not occur under any circumstances, and working on strengthening your core will help you reach that goal a lot more easily.

There are various exercises that can help you improve your core strength. Most of them are related to using a ball in a certain way, and you’d want to use either a fitness or a stability ball. You should pay special attention to giving a good hold on the repetitions when doing the exercises, as this is important for properly strengthening your muscles.

The body weight squats are perhaps the most commonly used – and one of the most efficient – exercises for improving core strength. It works by first placing the ball against a wall and leaning yourself on it. Your abdomen should tightened, and your body should be slightly tiled. You should then begin to slowly bend your knees until you’ve lowered yourself as much as you can – then hold that position for several seconds and lift yourself up. Repeat this for up to 10-15 times in several sets.

Remember though, as important as core strength itself is, maintaining proper core balance is just as crucial – you can’t expect to perform properly if you don’t have enough balance skill to complement your ability to transfer power from the lower to the upper body and vice versa. To achieve good balancing skill, you can use several types of exercises, again revolving around the use of a ball – only this time, you’d normally be lying down on the ground.

Yes, you can use the ball horizontally as well – place it on the ground and lay on it, with the ball being underneath your chest. From this position, you can either begin “walking” using your hands, until the ball has reached the area around your feet, or try to retain your balance while the ball is somewhere around your abdominal area (this is referred to as the “prone Superman”, as it tends to imitate him flying).

If you want to do something that doesn’t involve using a ball, you can go for the classic lunges, which can help you strengthen your gluteal muscles as well as the quadriceps ones. This will put you at a great advantage when it comes to core strength, and will allow you to perform the other core strength building exercises with an increased effectiveness.

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