The core of the problem

What is Core?
In common parlance, the core of the body is broadly considered to be the torso. Functional movements are highly dependent on this part of the body, and lack of core muscular development can result in a predisposition to injury1.

I have suffered from lower back pain from years of trials riding. It’s a hard sport on the body because of imbalances in muscle development from having one dominant foot forward, as well as getting jarring through your body on failed attempts/crashes. I had to find a way to manage this lower back pain because it was hindering my training.

I discovered that a weak core and over-tight hip flexors were a big part of my problem. An unstable core can risk causing injury, e.g. twisting of the spine. For injury rehabilitation and prevention, I set out to strengthen my core by doing the following exercises 3-4 times a week:

Disclaimer – I am not suggesting this will be a fix for everyone, but I’m sharing my personal experience in case it can help someone in a similar situation. You should always consult your doctor and/or physio before taking on any new exercise regime.

Strengthening exercises:

  • Plank – hold for 1-2 minutes, rest, then repeat 3 times
  • Transverse plank – 20 reps each side, repeat 3 times
  • Superman – 30 seconds – 1 minute, rest, then repeat 3 times
  • Hip extension – 15-20 reps, repeat 3 times

As well as regularly doing these stretches:

  • Hip flexors (runners lunge stretch and lunge stretch)
  • Lower back (knee cross over – lie on you back and keep one leg straight, bend the opposite knee to 90 degrees across your body. Keep the opposite shoulder in contact with the ground. You should feel a stretch in your lower back. Perform the stretch with the opposite leg)

Having a stronger core also improved my balance, which is nothing but a plus for my riding. Once you become a master of these core exercises there are plenty more out there for you! Best way to stay motivated is with variety.

Reference
1. Karageanes, Steven J. (2004). Principles of manual sports medicine. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. pp. 510–511. ISBN 978-0-7817-4189-7. Retrieved 26 March 2011.

By Janine Jungfels – Pushys Sponsored Athlete

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