To The Core... Functional Trunk Training
1986, Joe Montana injured his back while playing a regular season
game. During rehabilitation, his health care providers put him
on a new training regime that included exercises targeting spinal
stabilization. This type of exercise teaches one to locate and
maintain neutral lumbar spine position, a stance that can be defined
as the “most stable, least painful position of the spine for
the sport or activity at hand” (Morgan, 1988). According to
Montana’s health care providers, the objective was to keep him in
shape and prepare him as quickly as possible to resume functional
activity (Levin, 1991). As a result, he was able to resume his
normal physical activities and return to the playing field.
is only one of millions of individuals who, through physical stress
or injury, have experienced moderate to intense back pain. It is
estimated that about 80% of the general population will suffer back
pain during their life and that one-half will have recurrences
(Hughes, 1992). Since participation in recreational and
competitive sports has increased over the years, sports medicine
professionals are responding to an increased incidence in back
injuries. Therefore, it is essential that professional and
recreational athletes alike take measures to prevent back
injury-including regular trunk stabilization exercises.
water exercise with traditional land based sports drills can offer
athletes a unique working environment in which various patterns of
movement train the trunk stabilizers to better support the body.
Moving long “levers” through the water, such as the arms or
legs, is an effective way to create overload to strengthen the trunk
corset muscles. That means football players can use the
properties of water to mimic and improve their body alignment for
safe blocking. Tennis players can use water to practice and
strengthen their racquet swings while building protection for the
spine (Kolovou, 1998).
better understand the benefits of stabilization training, look at
the body from the inside out: Consider that the primary muscles that
stabilizing the “core” or center of the trunk, also support and
protect the spine from stressful movement. need to be strengthened
include: Abdominals, Obliques, Spinal Extensors and Trapezius.
Muscles that control pelvic positions also play a key role in
stabilization, such as the Gluteus Maximus, Hamstrings,
Quadriceps, Hip Flexors, and Calf.. Muscles that need to be kept
flexible include: Hamstrings, Quadriceps, Hip Flexors be kept
flexible for stabilization include: Hamstrings, Quadriceps, Hip
Flexors, Calf, Hip Rotators and Abductors (outer thigh).
References: Available upon request.
examine some exercise progressions that target
"inside-out" training for core stabilization.
Note: Consult a physician prior to starting any new workout regimen. Make sure to warm up prior to beginning work, then monitor intensity during workout. Use perceived exertion, heart rate monitor, or the "talk" test to check intensity. Remember, heart rates are variable and measure only a portion of the intensity story.
Mary E. Sanders, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, School of Medicine, Adjunct Professor, School of Public Health, University of Nevada, Reno and Director of WaterFitÒ/Golden Wavesâ; Affiliated Faculty, Sanford Center for Aging University of Nevada; Associate Editor of ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal for the American College of Sports Medicine; Advisory board member for International Council on Active Aging; columnist The Journal of Active Aging; Faculty member, Thera-Band® Advisory Board & Research Advisory Committee, TRAC Academy, Editor/co-author of YMCA Water Fitness for Health and developer of WaterFit Ò and the SpeedoÒ Aquatic Fitness Systems. Mary has been active for 20 years conducting research in exercise sciences & leadership, training instructors globally and as an international presenter and author. She can be contacted at www.waterfit.com .
Current Research Projects:
Mary is certified as a Health & Fitness Instructor by ACE
and ACSM and a continuing education provider for a number of certification
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