7th April 2018
There is no doubting the importance of core strength in any sport, and especially football. Core strength does not just concern the abdominal muscles and having a nice six pack. More so core stability and the muscles surrounding the abs, lower back and glutes. One of the best advantages of core strength is reduced risk of injury. Everyone knows that there is nothing worse than sitting in the sidelines and not playing. As well as reduced injury risk, core strength provides a base for power, speed and endurance.
I see a lot of players in the gym that base their core work on crunches and sit ups. While these exercises can be beneficial for building abdominal strength, they do not work the other important muscles involved in having a strong core base. I believe that planks, side planks and stability exercises are much more important to improve performance. Also, it is better to complete less repetitions of each exercise but keeping the quality high. Each exercise is simple than can be done at home or on the gym. Below is a list of core stability exercises that are highly recommended by top football fitness coaches and should be included in any players core circuit.
Planks – regular plank with knees and feet contacting the ground, and a straight line from shoulders to feet. Activate the glutes and core and hold for 30 seconds.
Side Planks – same idea except on your side. With one forearm and outside of the foot touching the ground and keeping the body in a straight line from head to toe.
Side Planks with Reverse Fly – same side plank position but with a light weight in the hand that is not on the ground, reach up to the sky, and then down across your body to the floor.
Shoulder Taps – in a push up position, bring up one hand by bending the elbow, and touch the opposite shoulder. Keeping the body from rotating and keeping the core activated.
Leg Raises – while hanging straight from a bar, raise your legs to 90 degrees without bending at the knee. Try not to swing your legs up, rather be under control and move nice and slow.
Roll Outs – Using a barbell or Swiss ball, keep you knees on the ground and roll the barbell on ball out in front. If on a Swiss ball, have your forearm on the ball and roll out as far as possible keeping the body in a straight line.
Any combination of these exercises will help build a strong stable core and help with strength, power, speed and balance in the game. All the time in the game the core is engaged, whether it be shooting, passing or holding off a defender. It is a vital part that should be worked on before or after training every day.
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