Origin of the term Core


The core is a relatively new term in the lexicon of training. I know I started using the term in 1987 after reading “Total Body Training” by Bob Gajda and Dr. Robert Dominguez, M.D. I began using it because it made sense. This is certainly a term that has taken on a life of its own. It is often used synonymously with the abdominals which is not completely accurate. I cannot find anything in research to substantiate the use of the term that predates 1998. Aside from Gajda and Dominguez, where did it come from? According to Gajda and Dominguez, “the first essential concept in total body training is that of the ‘core’ which is our term for the muscles of the center of the body. These muscles stabilize the body while we are in an erect, anti-gravity position or are using our arms and legs to throw or kick. They maintain our structure while we do vigorous exercises such as running, jumping, shoveling snow, and lifting weights overhead. They are the muscles that control the head, neck, ribs, spine, and pelvis.” (Gajda and Dominguez, page 7) This is a workable definition, but sometimes it makes me think ,what isn’t the core?

As best I can tell the term did not originate in the lab with scientific research; it emerged out of practice and experience. The martial arts have certainly understood the importance and function of the core for thousands of years. In martial arts it is called the “chi” or “ki,” the center of energy. In scientific terms it is the location of the center of gravity. We know that control of the center of gravity is essential for efficient movement. IF ANY OF YOU HAVE ANY THOUGHTS OR IDEAS ON WHERE THE TERM ORIGINATED, OR DID YOU HAVE ANY SCIENTIFIC REFERENCE THAT PRE DATE 1998, I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU.

Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta


Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
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Vern Gambetta

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