• Lionel Pannunzio PT / SCS

Do You Know What Your Core Really Is?


Many people still don't understand or know what the core is and the importance of the core for Sports like soccer.



Anatomy of the Core Muscles ?




The major muscles of the core reside in the area of the belly and the mid and lower back.

Major muscles included are the pelvic floor muscles, transversus abdominis, multifidus, internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis, erector spinae  and the diaphragm.

The lumbar muscles, quadratus Lumborum, Spinal erectors.


Minor core muscles include the latissimus dorsi, gluteus maximus, adductors and trapezius.

Anatomically it can be divided in two big groups:

The Deep Core Muscles :


Diaphragm, Transverse Abdominis, Pelvic Floor Muscles and Multifidus. These deep muscles wrap around the spine and act as a brace of belt around it.

The Superficial Core Muscles:


Rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques, erector spinae  and the minor core muscles like glutes, Lats, Trapezius. The superficial group assist with spine stability ( avoid excessive motion ) and initiate any movement in the arms or legs.

The core is where your Power, your Strength, your Endurance and your balance originates.


The core allows you to Throw, Kick, jump, walk and all these activities while breathing.


It is very important to understand how the Core and the spine work to be able to deal with pain and back problems choosing better motions , postures and properly loading the spine to avoid damage of the joints ligaments or the discs of the spine.



Function of the Core Muscles





The core  muscles act to stabilize your spine providing a firm support to the spine for all the activities we do.


The core muscles are arranged around the spine and the main function is to STOP spinal movement ( movement in between the vertebraes).


The core muscles are set up in layers forming a “brace “ for the protection  of the spine and to create enough force and stiffness to bear loads , control movements , facilitate breathing and functional movements like squat lift pull push carry .


Your core muscles have to work together in symmetry in order to avoid abnormal movement. Muscle imbalance means that there is not a good equilibrium between muscles that are too tight or loose versus muscles that are weak or strong.  A typical example of this imbalance is when  in the pelvic area hip flexors and lumbar paraspinals are very tight and the gluteal/core muscles are very weak. This combination could result in an anterior pelvic tilt which can cause lower back pain as well as knee and hip problems.


The core is traditionally assumed to originate most full-body functional movement, including most sports.





Core Weakness and Injury





Functional movements are highly dependent on this part of the body, and lack of core muscular development can result in a predisposition to injury.


We must look at core strength as the ability to control the force we produce.


It is important to first achieve core stability to protect the spine and surrounding musculature from injury in static and dynamic movements. Second, we want to effectively and efficiently transfer and produce force during dynamic movements while maintaining core stability.


When the core muscles are inefficient they allow “excessive “ movement in the spine which will cause some type of damage in the lumbar area or down in the kinetic chain: hips, thighs, knees, lower leg, ankle or foot


Core weakness has been associated with every single injury in the back and lower extremity:

ACL tears, Low Back Pain, Groin Pain, ITB syndrome, Patello-Femoral Pain, Ankle sprains, Pulled Hamstrings.


To recover from this condition a good starting point is to train the core properly to set up a good stable base for safe limb movement.



Essential Core Exercises ❗️❗️❗️❗️


Any person, no matter the level of fitness should do these 3 basic but powerful exercises.






1. Modified Curl-up





2. Side Plank or Bridge



3. Bird Dog




Instructions for all 3 exercises

  • Should be done daily.

  • You may start with short holds, like 5 to 10 seconds and 3-6 repetitions and build it from there till you can do 3 sets of 6 reps holding 10 seconds each repetition.

  • Maintain your spine in a pain-free posture and there must be NO movement through the lumbar spine .


What’s the magic of these 3 ?


The superior ability to build up muscle strength and endurance while sparring the back from excessive movement.




Core Strengthening: Functional Movement






Functional movements are highly dependent on this part of the body, and lack of core muscular development can result in a predisposition to injury.


Your core most often acts as a stabilizer and force transfer center rather than a prime mover. Yet consistently people focus on training their core as a prime mover and in isolation.

This would be doing crunches or back extensions versus functional movements like deadlifts, overhead squats, and pushups, among many other functional closed chain exercises.


By training the core with crunches and back extensions, not only are you missing out on a major function of the core, but also better strength gains, more efficient movement, and longevity of health.


We must look at core strength as the ability to control the force we produce. .


It is important to first achieve core stability to protect the spine and surrounding musculature from injury in static and dynamic movements.


Second, we want to effectively and efficiently transfer and produce force during dynamic movements while maintaining core stability.


These are the 6 basic functional movements that any person should be working on:


  1. Squat

  2. Hip Hinge

  3. Lunge

  4. Upper Body ​Press

  5. Upper Body ​Pull

  6. Loaded Carry















Conclusion


  • Core Muscles are one of the most important components for a Soccer player.

  • The core is where your Power, your Strength, your Endurance and your balance originates.

  • Core weakness has been associated with every single injury in the back and lower extremity: ACL tears, Low Back Pain, Groin Pain, ITB syndrome, Patello-Femoral Pain, Ankle sprains, Pulled Hamstrings.

  • Do not underestimate the importance of these basic exercises because they are the key for a strong core musculature, perform better and prevent injuries.

Lionel Pannunzio is a Physical Therapist Certified in Sports Injuries.


With more than 20 years of experience helping athletes return to their sports after an injury.


He is the Owner of White Bay Sports Physical Therapy and Fitness, conveniently located  in the beautiful City of Weston,  where he treats Soccer Player, Runners and Athletes of all ages

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where you will receive information about your condition and other services we offer, always with the idea of keeping you healthy and fit to enjoy your favorite sport.

Lionel Pannunzio

Physical Therapist

Board-Certified Sports Specialist

Owner of White Bay Physical Therapy

“Keeping Athletes in the game”

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