Core Stability

Core Stability

The foundation for safe and dynamic movement

You may have heard people within Rugby League talking about the core or core stability but what is it and how does it help Rugby League players?

The stability of the Core or Trunk is the foundation for explosive movement and control so Agility, Balance and Co-Ordination. Benefits of developing ‘core stability’ In Rugby League terms, you become more stable in contact, better able to withstand tackles, and solid in your ability to receive and offload the ball. By training specifically for core stability, you gain a number of benefits.

Like you, I had absolutely no Idea what muscles make up the ‘Core’ but after a little re-search I have found out what they are, where they are and exactly what they do. The reason why people have paid so little attention to it is that there’s nothing flashy or glamorous about it. Although it involves the abs, core strength is not about having a visible six-pack or a flat stomach. And while the core muscles, as stabilizers, can help determine how far you can throw a ball, their development is often secondary to the other, more obvious (and more visible) muscles in your limbs. The only people who have had the right idea about core strength all this time are dancers and Yoga practitioners. They’ve developed their core as part of their training, and it shows – professional dancers and Yogis generally stay fit well into old age. They stand straighter and have more energy at a time when many of their peers can just hobble along.

The core muscles include not only those in your abdominals and back, but also muscles in your pelvic floor and hips. Many of your core muscles can’t be seen because they’re buried underneath other muscles. The transverse abdominis, for example, is hiding underneath your rectus abdominis (your six-pack, if you’ve got one) and encases, or hugs the whole area below the belly button. While the rectus abdominis is sitting on top looking good (that is, if you’ve been doing your crunches), the transverse abdominis is working hard, keeping your posture upright and protecting many of your internal organs. You can’t see the erector spinae, either – it’s behind you, supporting your back. And did you know that those pelvic floor muscles aid in stabilizing your spine? All these muscles, and more, work together to keep your trunk stable while your limbs are active. Strong core muscles keep your back healthy. They hold your body upright, improve your balance and enable you to really put some oomph in your arm and leg movements. If the core muscles are weak, your body doesn’t work as effectively, and other muscles have to pick up the slack. This can result in injuries such as a twisted knee, a pulled shoulder, or your classic “bad back.” A weak core can make you old before your time. With a strong core, you may be old in years, but you won’t walk old. If you’re young and active in sports, a strong core will aid you in your power moves, and your whole body will function more effectively.

So how do you train the core? Surely you need access to a gym or specialist equipment!

It would be a lie if I said that a gym facility or even a room with some Gym Balls, light weights and a medicine ball or 2 would not be of benefit however there are a number of exercises that you can do out on the park as part of a conditioning session that require no equipment and you will find some of these below, we will also be adding some exercises in the future that will strengthen the ‘Core’ but for these you will need at least a Swiss ball to be able to complete them.

[divider type=”image”] Every Exercise that you do that works the ‘core’ should use the Abdominal Hollowing (Tight Abdominals) technique.

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Lay Flat on Back

Knees Bent

Arms at sides

Draw spine to the floor

Keep breathing as you hold

Hold for 5 seconds and release

Repeat 10 – 15 times

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The Front Plank

Lay flat on stomach

Elbows directly under shoulders

Head facing the ground

Using the Abdominal Hollowing technique above,

raise up onto your tip toes and for arms

Elbows under shoulders

Back Flat

Head down

Hold until fatigued or technique fails – aim for 30 seconds

Perform 4 sets

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The Side Plank

Lay on side

Elbow under shoulder

Other arm straight down the side

Raise hips straight up

Elbow under shoulder

Hold until fatigued or technique fails – aim for 30 seconds

Perform 4 sets
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The Superman

This exercise should be performed very slowly focusing on keeping the stomach muscles tight. Be careful not to arch the back or swing arms and legs throughout the movement.

Start in table top position
Flat back, tight abdominals
Knees, hips, and arms at 90 degrees
Head facing ground

Slowly raise opposite hand and opposite leg
Keep back straight and abdominals tight
Be careful not to raise legs and arms raised higher than the back

Slowly come back to table top

Switch sides
repeat 5-10 times each side
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The Curl Up
Lay flat on back
Hands supporting you neck/head
Elbows out
One leg bent, one leg straight
Tight abdominals

Raise head upward, do not pull with arms, elbows stay out only for support
Raise head towards ceiling – do not pull head towards knees
Think of trying to touch the ceiling with your nose
Tight abdominals
Perform 15-20 reps slow and controlled
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