Mile Matters with J&A Racing
We’ve partnered up with our presenting sponsor, Bon Secours In Motion, to bring you training trips to help you stay healthy while you training for your next race. A few things should be done to help make sure you are fully prepared for your race! One of them is core stability.
The “core” is comprised of multiple muscles found around the abdomen whose main responsibility is to stabilize the spine and pelvis during movement of the extremities. The major muscles of the core include the transverse abdominis, internal and external obliques, erector spinae muscles and multifidi muscles. The strength of the core is important in all aspect of daily life, but they are even more important when performing activities requiring dynamic movement of both lower extremities and upper extremities and activities that produce force in the spine, such as running.
Did you know? Less commonly known core muscles, but just as important to train, are the gluteal muscle group including the gluteus minimus, gluteus maximus and gluteus medius, as well as the pelvic floor muscle group. These muscles help specifically to stabilize the pelvis, especially during impact involving one lower extremity such as jumping from foot to foot while running.
Most effective ways to work the core: The safest and most effective way to strengthen the core without risk of injury to the low back involves maintaining the spine in a neutral position either in a static position, such as a plank, or while moving the upper and lower extremities, such as a dead bug exercise. As mentioned above, don’t forget about your gluteal muscle exercises such as clams, lunges and band sidestepping. Kegels to work the pelvic floor muscles can also be very beneficial.
Progressing Core Exercises: It’s important to remember that training the core beyond its means can lead to back pain. Before attempting to progress your core exercises, make sure you can maintain a neutral spine without compromising form. For example, in the supine position, you should be able to gently press your low back into the ground without it arching while performing your exercises. If you can’t do this, the exercise is too hard.
Frequency and duration of core strengthening: Because the core should be constantly firing on a day-to -day basis, it is ok to train the core daily as well. 10-15 minutes of core training a day can reduce your risk of injury, not only to the spine and pelvis but to the joints of the extremities as you are providing a strong base for your extremities to move on. If you did a hard-core workout and experience delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) that day or the next day, use that as a guide to give yourself a break and resume when the muscles have rested.