We have all heard one of the following about the core… ♦ The core is the center of all movements ♦ My sport requires high amounts of core training ♦ The core is essential for optimal performance …if you’ve been trained, were/are an athlete, or are currently training.
Having strength and stability within the core allows athletes across all spectrums to increase performance while decreasing injuries. For sports requiring high levels of stabilization and rotation, like polo, having a strong core can save your back as well.
Polo requires high-level players to have very high amounts of stabilization and core strength in order to perform coordinated movements with control and power. When an athlete lacks the optimal strength levels to perform a skill, other muscles of the body must kick in. When the core can’t handle the load or stress, it will habitually recruit muscle activation from the lower back. Although the back should be strong enough to handle the stresses, it can lead to overuse injuries of the fibrous tissues along the spine – leading to pain, discomfort and a shortened career.
Getting ahead of the overuse and impact injuries becomes important, if not more important, than training to enhance performance. My philosophy is to habituate our athlete’s bodies to move optimally through large ranges of motion with proper muscle activation and enhanced strength and power.
Specific to core strength and stability for polo, we focus on three key points:
Focus on and increase Range of Motion (ROM) ROM limitations within the hip joint are a major precursor for lower back pain (LBP), lack of gluteal musculature development, and altered lumbar spine kinematics1. Normally, the first train of thought is to simply prescribe a comprehensive stretching routine. However, there are multiple forms of stretching, as well as active, dynamic and static flexibility. Dynamic fl