Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Developing the Core: Book Review

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Recently I was sent Developing the Core to review from Human Kinetics.  As a big fan of core training, I was excited to receive it.

Core strength is important for pretty much everything we do, whether its high performance sports, or everyday activities.  It affects our posture, susceptibility to injury and our mobility.

Unfortunately, the book doesn't have all that much to offer for someone like myself except for detailed anatomical and physiological information about the core.  It is geared towards athletes or individuals training for a particular sport, rather than just a fitness enthusiast like myself.  I guess if I have clients I am training for a specific sport or event it could help me create a training program for them but most of my clients don't fall into that group.

Nevertheless, it does what it intends to do very well and if you are, indeed, someone training for a sport or event and need some background on how to use core training to enhance your performance, than this book will be perfect for you.

It starts with a very detailed chapter on core anatomy and biomechanics.  It might be too scientific for some people, but its not a bad idea to know this stuff, particularly if you are really serious about your training and conditioning. 

The second chapter explains how to assess your core strength while chapter three goes through how your core muscles function during various types of exercise and activity. 

Chapter four contains all the exercises and drills with accompanying diagrams.  None were new or novel to me, but then again, I have been working in the fitness industry for over 20 years.  There are lots of solid exercises for anyone without significant training experience.  Some use a medicine ball, but for many of them (excluding ones that require throwing the ball!), you can sub a hand weight.  Others require cable machines you find at a gym, but you might be able to simulate them at home with a resistance band.

Chapter five explains how to design a core training program and chapters 6-16 are devoted to sport-specific core training for each of the following activities:

- Baseball/softball
- Basketball
- Football
- Golf
- Ice hockey
- Soccer
- Swimming
- Tennis
- Track & field
- Volleyball
- Wrestling

Within each of these chapters, there is an explanation of how core strength affects performance in that particular activity, what aspects of core conditioning are most important, and there are sample training programs you can follow.

Essentially, if you are training for a particular sport and want to add core conditioning to your regime (which you should!), than this is a solid, information-packed book that can help you improve your core strength, power and overall performance.

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