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How effective is isolated “core stability” training for athletic performance?

Posted on: Apr 25th, 2017 by The Physio Movement | Categories: Sports Medicine & Nutrition

Core stability training is typically defined as training to improve trunk and hip control, and has become a typical part of athletic development even though there is little known about the direct relation to athletic performance.

Firstly this is a review of the direct relation to core stability and athletic performance (healthy population) and all these findings are in regards to this very particular area, so its to not disregard global stability or the benefit of core specific exercises for populations who are injured, musculoskeletal conditions or rehab.

This discussion in highlighted from the results from of a 2012 systematic review, which finds a number of well-written studies based around a specific topic and draws a significant conclusion from the results. These studies are great when there is conflicting evidence or when making specific current statements about evidence practice.

This study is the determine is a stand alone core stability session (without any other sport specific activities or whole body movements) enough to elicit a response for improved performance. This can be more important for those who have limited time, trying to get more bang for your buck or those who train larger quantities and need only include sessions that are worth the fatigue.

The results show that there is marginal improvements with athletic performance for isolated core stability and many of the studies that did show improvements actually included other activities, thus influencing the results. There is also varying responses depending upon the population group, old vs young and trained vs untrained. With untrained populations responding better to the training stimulus than trained individuals.

In conclusion when designing your own training plan or for someone else’s, it should be considered where core stability training should be implemented. Due to the results it would appear that having core stability training should be programmed more towards general prep or recovery phase rather than competitive or pre-comp phases, and even then have it as a part of a larger exercise regime and not a stand alone.

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