CORE is a very prominent term in the endurance sport community. If you were to look at Twitter, there are countless articles published daily about how important the core is in Endurance Sport. The "10 MUST DO" exercises to improve your core is a common headline. Many on these exercise are extremely advanced. Much too difficult for the beginner/average/advanced athlete.
Working the core brings the body together. It is the power plant of the body. The core allows the upper body to work more in unison with the lower body. The core promotes better balance, body alignment, and muscular coordination. The core helps you engage the correct muscles when executing the individual demands of the activities we perform. A strong, stable core is vital to high level performance.
I always thought I have had a strong core. I could do sit ups, knee ups, legs lifts, bicycle crunches, etc. When it came to planks and bridges, I could not hold these positions for more than 20 seconds. Last year I committed to working my stability fitness/strength daily. I would plank, side plank, bridge, etc. up for 7 minutes daily. Thats it! 7 minutes a day. What I realized after doing this for a few months, is that I never knew what a strong core was.
I muscle through everything I do. I always have, going back to my ice hockey days. If I only knew what a truly strong core could do for my performance. When my core started to adapt to the stability training I was practicing daily with my 7 minute core routine, I found that I could use the core to hold the body in a better position while swimming, biking, running, and living. This improved posture, allowed for better efficiency, and, in turn allowed for more power coming from the strong foundation. This made me stronger, faster, more resilient to fatigue, and better able to hold my posture throughout the day.
Don't over think the core training. You do not need to get too complex. Get back to basics. You can add a little variety into the 7 minutes of daily core, but the priority is stability. If you consistently hit your core-stability daily, the gains will come. You will feel a strength in your performance like you never have had before.
7 Minute Core Routine
Hold/Perform Each for 30-60 Seconds
You can substitute one exercise for another, but the emphasis must be on consistently getting in the routine daily. The stability exercises take priority. Work up to 1 minute at each exercise, continuous from one to the next with no breaks. After two months of this routine, you will see a drastic difference in your overall strength, fitness, and performance.
With our current daily routines being centered around computers and smart phones, the core is a vital component to counteracting the poor habit brought on by technology. We add in endurance sport timing without the increased posture the core work promotes, and the imbalances lead to injury.
Commit to your core!