There is no unequivocal evidence that core training improves sports performance.
The original core training work in physical therapy was used for diagnositics - and this application is useful for athletes. I'd advocate core training at the start of a training programme for assessment purposes - which could then be used to plan the specific areas for development. For example if an athlete has a injury or a problem performing a particular movement in which certain core muscles are activated then core training is useful for them.
your core is what ties your body together its totally imperative to be a good mma fighter.
Before "core training" started to become fashionable , top athletes in other sports never had a problem with their core, because it was getting trained anyway.
Now people seem to be jumping on it like its some magic pill. It aint. Seperate core exercises can be useful but not essential to solve specific problems somebody may be having.
I bet in 10-20 years time some other fashionable fitness concept will come along and people will start saying thats imperative for MMA too.
Mark is correct. "Core" is just a silly word anyway - what does it mean? Your abs? Your lower back? Your trunk? I lump it in with the term "semi-pro"
Anyone who can't do a sit up has more serious problems than doing the sit up in the first place
There's no agreed definition in the academic literature. Some limit it to the torso - abs and lower back - but others extend the definition to include shoulders and upper arms down to the knees.
Likewise there is no agreed way of assessing core strength - without which all you have is qualitative judgments - "yeah - i think i should do this coz its fashonable " - rather than basing decisions on a more objective , scientific criteria.
If a fighter does get their core reliably assessed and trains a specific set of exercises then there's still the issue of transfering that to performance and attributing improvements to that and not something else. If the test is general then it may not be specific for MMA. On the other hand if a specific " core" test for MMA movements was devised (none has) it would be counfounded with technique. These are some of the reasons no clear cut evidence has been found for effects of core training on sport performance (not just other tests or exercises)
For this reason the effect size is very small (i.e the meaninfull contribution of core training - seperated from other components that also contribute to performance - Psychological aspects, aerobic fitness, technique, power - is very small). This is a problem for any scientific experimental design looking for practical quantitative effects.
(long winded question) Leigh: in ur earlier responses to Stapes; was it a case of explaining - strengthening the pulling/pressing, by whatever muscle groups become involved, RATHER than isolating specific muscles/fibres in assumption that those are the muscles to do the job of the pull/press? My (lame) example being: my pull ups are strengthened by drilling the pull up, rather than training the (assumed correct) muscles individually because they need to be worked in unison to gain full development? The same as my core development: strengthening my abs/lower b ck doesnt ncsrly mean that my kicking will benefit? all that said, i STILL train my "core" seperately to (hopefully) lessen injury risk from being muscularly weak.
"Awww, so you lost darling - but it's the taking part that counts" My Mum... thanks for nothing Mum.
to answer your question, yes
Hi! Good thread guys, enjoyed reading it!
Leigh - bored today were we lol? Nicely kept the discussion going there...
I think 'core' training is very important. The first point I want to throw into the argument is my definition of 'core'. I say that every 'hinge' in the body has its core, and I would explain the core as the tendons and ligaments, the connective tissues around every hinge joint. Of course, the waist is the biggest hinge joint, but the other joints are just as important in my opinion.
Now, as Mark rightly alluded to, you need to periodise your training and 'core' work should find its rightful place. I also agree that your cores get worked quite nicely during athletic movements also. I do core work for two reasons:
1. To allow the flow of force through a body as efficiently as possible, ie. you can't be a fast runner unless you can connect your upper body to the lower.
2. Injury prevention. This is my biggest reason. I turn to super-slow and TRX suspension work specifically for this. I look to strengthen my cores through all ranges of motion. Take football for example. I had some success with a former Italian world cup player (friend of a friend) who had a knee injury, and we devised some workouts to strengthen his hinges up. Footballers generally are strong and don't get injuries when working in their usual planes of movement. The problem comes when they are tackled for example and their body is manouvred out of their usual movements - this seems to be where injuries are mostly incurred. By training the joints and the connective tissues to be strong in all directions helps to keep the joints stable better under these irregular forces. In our sport I would apply this kind of training at the preparation period prior to intense training, to allow the joints to better withstand the more 'sports-specific' training that will follow.
Remember, its not about what you do, but what you do that doesn't injure yourself at the same time!
Going back to the hinge at the waist though, I would also look to train my 'core' here in three ways. (as a simple generalisation!!!!)
1. Full hinge movements. The large, power movements such as jacks and situps, develping strength and power to pull the hinge closed and open. Summary - big power movements.
2. 'Armour plating'. Working the abs and lower back, the muscles that provide direct resistance to impact, crunches and back raises for example. Summary - smaller, more isolating movements.
3. Deep soft tissue. Working the stability and connective tissues 'in deep' way, planks, side planks, side planks with taps, classic stress positions. Summary - static, holding positions, or slow motion dynamic holding positions.
Just adding some thoughts to the discussion!
I gotta say, I'm really impressed with the way these discussions are going lately. No arguments or slanging when disagreements take place, opinions being put forward based on academic and practice and experience, and I keep getting led in new directions to study. Cheers guys!