The Core Crucial Questions

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What actually is the core? Has anyone seen a scientific definition? To my know knowledge there is no definition of the core in research literature. I first came across the term the term in 1987 when I first read the book Total Body Training (Dominguez, Richard H. M.D., and Gajda, Robert S.. New York, N.Y: Warner Books,1982.)The term made sense to me so I started using it. They offered no research basis for the term other than their practical experience. From the perspective of the martial arts the chi or ki is the center of energy, that may have had some influence on the use of the term. I maintainthat the way the term has evolved is has become a nebulous term that has very little meaning. I offer the following example from volume 38 # 5 May 2006 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise,on page 945 there is an article entitled ”Core Strength and Lower Extremity Alignment during single squats.” I got real excited because I thought that I would finally see a scientific definition of the term core in a refereed journal. Instead they use the term and do not define it. There is no reference to core in the references. They clearly equate the core with the “trunk’” which is what everyone does. My argument is why use the term if it not clearly defined. A kind of dumb coaching question that I have is what isn’t the core? Just because an expert, a PhD,or an MD writes about it does not make it a fact. It is still opinion. That is my opinion!!! Let’s stop passing round opinions and get some science behind this. I propose that someone undertake a scientific study that looks at the superficial and the deep muscles of the trunk (those commonly considered part of the core) and learn how they work in functional positions like walking, running, jumping throwing, bending and extending. Let’s define the term core from a scientific perspective. From my perspective as a coach defining the core as the muscle of the hips, abdomen and back, I try to build the athlete around the core. All movement works through the core. It is the center of the action. It is made of both big thick superficial muscles designed to protect the internal organs and many small deep muscles that must work in harmony to stabilize and produce efficient movement. It is very strong if used properly, but to use it properly it is necessary to know what buttons to push.

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

@coachgambetta

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

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