What is my “core”, why is it important in soccer, and what are some exercises I can do for it?
What is the “Core”?
In its most basic sense, your core consists of the muscles in your torso.
While core training is sometimes also referred to as ab or abdominal training, this is actually not entirely accurate. Abdominal exercises primarily work the rectus abdominus, external obliques, internal obliques, and transverse abdominus. Core work uses the abdominal muscles and also include the multifidus and rotatores stabilizer muscles, the erector spinae (both the length and the lateral portions), the latissimus dorsi, the gluteus maximus, the trapezius, and a handful of others.
Why is the Core Important?
The core muscles play several roles:
- Endurance and Posture – The erector spinae (which literally means spine stiffener) and the stabilizer muscles determine your posture and back strength. Having a stronger back improves your endurance. After-all, if your back is tired, chances are your entire body will become tired trying to hold it up. Furthermore, better posture makes you stand taller, giving you a better chance to head high balls. Finally, to a much lesser extent, better posture can help improve the leverage generated when kicking, making your shots that much more effective.
- Strength and Power – Several core muscles generate powerful, explosive movement. Whether it’s for fighting off a challenge for a ball, a quick first step to beat a pursuing forward in the defensive area, exploding on the dribble to leave a defending player behind at the midfield, or making that powerful kick to score, your core muscle play a key role.
- Coordination – Core muscles help your upper and lower body work together. This is important when volleying balls and even simply making the ball go where you intend it to go when you touch it.
- Injury Prevention – A strong core is an integral part of overall strength and fitness which has obvious effects on injury prevention. The Psoas muscle acts as a messenger for the central nervous system and other muscles of the core support the spine which in turn improves spinal regulation of the nervous system.
Exercises for the Core
Here are some exercises you should do to strengthen your core for soccer.