Building the Core Foundations for Next Season (Part 1) Stabilisation

In the first of our 2 part blog series for pre-season we address the importance building a stabilisation system in your body to prevent injuries for the season ahead.

There are two muscular systems to take into consideration when implementing an effective core conditioning programme for a player, and they are stabilisation and movement.

Each one is just as important to the other and therefore must be trained in equilibrium to produce total functionality.


Stabilisation

“Stability is the ability to control movement and force”. In other words important muscle groups of the core which is responsible in the efficient movement of prime mover muscles, such as the hamstrings etc. players must be able to provide sufficient stability and strength to help transmit the power required for effective movement.

A lack of strength in this area will result in the breakdown of movement patterns and ultimately develop muscle compensations which lead to synergistic dominance and reoccurring injuries.

Too often players possess powerful and rapid movement of the limbs, but are unable to produce their maximum potential because of a weak stabilisation system.

Building a strong stabilization base is paramount, and can be compared to building a solid foundation before erecting a house, knowing that it will support a complete structure.

The following exercises act as corrective strength drills that activate inactive muscles of the core. These muscles are instrumental for players when executing more advanced drills and movements to their full potential.

Pelvic Tilt Lay on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Tighten stomach muscle and pull the lower back to the floor. Hold for 10 seconds. Do 3 to 5 repetitions

Hip Bridges Place head and shoulders supported on a ball, raise hips up into a bridge position and in line with shoulders on the ball.  (To add more of a challenge, try to lift one leg off the floor and maintain your balance without the hips dropping).

Back extensions  (Floor or on Exercise Ball) Lying prone (face down) on the floor and hands by the side of the head.  Raise the head and shoulders off the floor, whilst looking down to the floor and keeping the feet in contact with the floor at all times. Raise up, hold for 20 – 30 seconds and lower. Repeat 5x (Alternative Ball option: Lay prone over the ball with your hips on the ball and feet on the floor/For a greater stability challenge, put your feet closer together)

Glute Raise Place your hips on the ball, with hands on the floor in front of the ball. Keep the head and shoulders in a neutral position. Lift the feet off the floor activating the glutes to raise as high as you can. Hold each rep at the top for a count of 10 and return to the floor. Repeat 5x  (This exercise can also be completed on the floor).

Superman  Lying prone over the ball with equal weight between the feet and the hands. Raise the opposite arm to the leg again holding at the top of each movement for a count of 10 before returning to floor and working on the other side. Repeat 5x each side

Side Plank and Side plank Drops A more dynamic exercise introduces movement of the arms and/or legs to challenge the neutral spine; this exercise is for the hip abductors. Lie on one side with lower arm bent under head and upper arm resting with hand on floor near chest. Bend both knees and flex hips and find neutral spine position. Raise the hips off the floor and hold then slowly raise upper leg 8 to 10 inches and lower. Do 5 repetitions and repeat on opposite side.

Ball Bridges An advanced stabilisation exercise that introduces unpredictable movement that must be responded to (the movement of the ball). Lay on floor with both feet propped up on the exercise ball with legs straight and arms relaxed to the sides. Find the neutral spine position and hold while slowly tightening the buttock muscle to lift the buttocks off the floor 2 to 3 inches

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