SOCCER PLAYERS: IMPORTANCE OF CORE STRENGTH
JOHN GALLUCCI, JR.
The development of core strength is important for all athletes. The core is where balance originates and is what helps a player stand up, change directions, stop at a moments notice and breathe through it all. Core muscles are important for a soccer player — core strength is needed for endurance … that burst of speed and ability in the 90th minute that can win games. Core workout usually refers to the abdominal muscles but it can also include other muscles like the gluteus maximus.
John Gallucci Jr., MLS Medical Coordinator for more than 600 professional soccer players and FOX Sports medical analyst discusses the importance of core strength for an athlete.
What is Core Strength?
The core, by definition is the center or most important part of something and this definition holds true when speaking about a core in terms of the human body. The core, simply put, involves all muscles located within your torso; the body minus the arms and legs.
Why is Core Strength important?
When we think about a core — whether it be in an apple or in the human body — we are talking about the central, strong stabilizing aspect of the object or being.
The core is where power, strength, endurance and balance originate. It is what helps us stand up, stay standing, propel forward into a walk, run or skip, change directions, stop at a moment’s notice and breathe through it all.
The strength of the core also plays an important role in determining a soccer player’s quickness, not only in terms of sprint speed but also in the ability to change directions and is vital in winning the ball when shoulder to shoulder with another player.
The core, although commonly thought to only include the abdominal muscles, also includes the muscles in the back and the upper hip. As mentioned above these muscles are responsible for continual spinal stabilization and rotational stability which play a major role in coordination of movement for the soccer athlete.
“Core” Facts for the Soccer Athlete:
Improved Posture — Strengthening the stabilizing muscles in one’s back can greatly improve one’s posture and endurance. Proper posture during physical activity will lead to mechanical efficiency and decreased energy expenditure allowing the athlete to perform at a high level for longer.
Increased Power — Strong core muscles are essential in generating fast, powerful, explosive movements that define a soccer player. The core musculature is responsible for distance and curvature on a corner kick, distance and height of a goal kick, quick footed dribbling and the last minute cut and fake out of an opposing defensive player.
Increased Coordination — Developing the core muscles will aid in coordinating whole body movements. Soccer players must be able to dribble the ball, run and keep their head up and eyes forward. Without coordination the most basic elements of soccer would not be possible.
Decreased Injuries — For all the reason listed above, a strong core will decrease one’s risk of injury. Proper posture and increased endurance, strength and coordination lead to a healthier body that is efficient in movement.
Exercises to Strengthen the Core: Perform 2 sets of each exercise at 10 reps and with a 30 second break in between each exercise. As strength develops sets and reps can be increased.
- Perform these exercises 3-4 times per week.
- Plank (side, front)
- Bridges (Single and Double leg)
- Flutter kicks
- Bicycle Crunches
- Mountain Climbers
- Russian Twists