Maintaining a strong core is very important as it is the foundation of all body movement, irrespective if you run, kayak, or cycle.
Where are your core muscles?
Many people think adnominal/ stomach muscles are the only core muscles. In fact the core muscles includes all of the muscles that are located in your torso such as glutes, lower back and hips muscles.
Many people suffer from lower back pain, knee and hip injuries. Often the main cause of this is poor core strength and poor posture.
Why is a strong core important for athletes?
• A strong core provides the stability, balance and endurance that athletes need for powering uphill’s, maintaining efficient form mile after mile and sprinting to the finish.
• Without a strong core your quads, hips and knee joints bear the extra pounding of your body weight, which can lead to fatigue, pain and even injury.
• Strong lower back muscles help maintain correct posture while running, kayaking and cycling.
• Strong glutes and lower abs keeps the pelvis stable.
How to build a strong core?
Exercises such as the plank, superman, and squats are great for strengthening the core muscles. If you are working on your core strength for the first time it is a good idea to seek advice from a personal trainer or join a class like yoga or pilates. This ensures you perform the exercises in a correct and safe manner.
When you have gained sufficient knowledge all the exercises can be performed at home with dumb bells, kettle bells, medicine ball etc. Pilates can be another good balancing activity for runners, it also helps with muscle balance, core stability and posture very efficiently.
Regardless of which sport you do introducing strength training into a fitness programme is very beneficial.