We have all been told about the importance of having a good level of core stability, and the role it plays in maintaining a good posture and preventing conditions such as lower back pain (LBP) in our later years in life. But for footballers in particular, from Cristiano Ronaldo to non-league players, the benefits of having good core stability are huge with regards to enhancing performance.
The “core” involves muscles responsible for holding the torso in place; the abdominals, lower back, and the hip muscles, which should position the spine and pelvis neutrally. By making these muscles strong and “switched on”, it can vastly improve an individuals performance by improving:
- Prevention of injury.
There are a number of different exercises in which to do to improve someone’s core strength, and by progressing the exercises on a weekly basis, the individual will constantly feel challenged.
Exercises can be held for 20 seconds (beginners) up to 30 seconds (advanced) for three to four sets. Examples of these exercises include:
- Side Planks,
- Hamstring Bridges
- Leg Raises,
- Prone Cobra’s.
Throughout my time working with the academy players at Leyton Orient Football Club (under 13’s-under 16’s), I have managed to implement some of these exercises into their daily routines through stressing the importance of good core strength within football, and how it will develop their game at this crucial stage of their young careers. These exercises can all be progressed by the use of swiss balls, theraband’s, use of a partner, or an unstable surface.
In football, it’s the small things that count, and it may be from getting that extra yard of pace, to holding your own in a 50/50 and not being bullied off the ball. But ultimately, it’s a game of margins, something core strength can win you.
Jamie Grange BSc (hons) GSR MSc CPT.