The core, also known as the lumbo-pelvic-hip-complex (LPHC), is the basic center of mass responsible for balance and stability in many physical sports performance (Clark, Sutton, & Lucett, 2015). There are confusions to the general public what muscles are involved with the core musculatures and how they are trained (Faries & Greenwood, 2007) to improve balance, posture, and proprioception (Clark et al., 2015). The fact that the human movement systems (HMS) of core musculature involved the local and global stabilization systems adds another layer of misunderstanding how training the core would improve sports performance functional capabilities (Faries & Greenwood, 2007; Clark et al., 2015).
The LPHC’s local stabilization muscles are the fibers that are connected directly to the vertebrate, which are Type I (slow twitch) muscles to maintain intervertebral and intersegmental stability. These local muscles are the transverse abdominus, internal oblique, multifidus, pelvic floor, and the diaphragm (Willardson, 2007; Clark et al., 2015). The global stabilizer muscles, in contrast, are the ones connecting directly from the pelvis to the spine (Clark et al., 2015). These muscles are the quadratus lumborum, psoas major, external oblique, rectus abdominus, gluteus medius, and the adductor complex (Clark et al., 2015). The two main functions of the global stabilizing muscles are to transfer load from upper to lower extremities and to provide stability during eccentric strength functional movements (Willardson, 2007; Clark et al., 2015).
Again, the goal of the HMS is to maintain optimal neuromuscular control. Training the local and global stabilizing systems of the LPHC is recommended to begin with stabilizing the core muscles to improve neuromuscular efficiency and intervertebral stability (Willardson, 2007; Clark et al., 2015). Thus, when starting out after a few weeks, an unstable stable surface such as using a Bosu ball would further increase core stability. As training continues, the LPHC will improve functional capability as one because the core also control balance, which translate to better functional performance (Basnet & Gupta, 2013). In fact, core training and balance training seems to produce similar results in functional muscle stabilization (Basnet & Gupta, 2013; Clark et al., 2015), as long as the training phases progress from stabilization to strength, then finally to power in a systematic and progressive manner according to the fitness of an individual (Clark et al., 2015).
Basnet, R., & Gupta, N. (2013). Effect of core stabilization and balance-training program on dynamic balance. Indian Journal of Physiotherapy & Occupational Therapy, 7(1), 218-222.
Clark, M., Sutton, B. G., & Lucett, S. (2015). NASM essentials of sports performance training. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Faries, M. D., & Greenwood, M. (2007). Core training: Stabilizing the confusion. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 29(2), 10-25. doi:10.1519/1533-4295(2007)29[10:ctstc]2.0.co;2
Willardson, J. M. (2007). Core stability training: Applications to sports conditioning programs. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 21(3), 979-985. doi:10.1519/r-20255.1
Fitness & Conditioning
For a tennis player to perform at their best, they must have just the right mix of aerobic and anaerobic endurance, explosive strength and power, speed off the mark and agility. The amount of strength, speed, agility and flexibility conditioning a player is prepared to undertake has been linked to the standard of performance.