I’ve found that the core muscle group is one of the most under-developed and overlooked muscle groups for football players today.
If you haven’t been deliberately training your core, I’m hoping that will change after you read this today.
Before I get into the benefits of core training, I want to first clarify a common piece of misinformation out there.
A lot of people think that your core is made up of only your abs, obliques, and lower back. This is not true.
Your core also includes the muscles that run up and down your back, along your spine, in as well as your hip flexors and glutes.
So without further a-do, here are the ways a stronger core can help you become more dominant on the football field:
1. Change of Direction Skills – You know those clips that make the Sportscenter Top 10 where a defender gets juked-out and looks silly?
Would you like to be able to do that? Of course you would.
The ability to change directions on a dime plays a major part in being elusive and shifty on the football field.
Strengthening your core can help you with your change of direction abilities.
2. Explosion – Who doesn’t want be more explosive? The more explosive you are, the faster your 40 time, and if you’re a football player, you know how important the 40 yard dash is.
3. Power – It’s believed that a stronger core will improve your overall power. Power is what will help you win more of those one-on-one collisions you’re sure to face on the football field.
Before your extremities begin to move, your central nervous system stabilizes your spine in anticipation for the movement.
It’s believed that the rate at which the core muscles stabilize the spine may have a direct effect on the power of limb movement.
Regardless of whether you’re a running back who wants to become more of a “power back”, or if you’re a defensive player looking to make more big hits, a stronger core can help you get where you want to be.
4. Improved strength in the weight room – Strength plays a major part in the amount of power you can generate on the field.
The stronger your core, the more weight you’re going to be able to lift.
Do you want to be known as one of the strongest players on your team? If you do, yet you’ve been neglecting your core muscles, you’re probably not lifting as much weight as you could with a stronger core.
5. Endurance – The stronger core helps improve the endurance of your core, which means that the stronger your core gets, the longer you’ll be able to maintain high levels of performance for all of the other attributes you read about in this article.
For example, you don’t want to just be powerful and explosive in the first quarter, you want to maintain that ability late into the fourth quarter too.
Since your core plays such an important role in these abilities, you want your core to retain that high level of strength for as long as you can.
6. Decreased Risk of Injury – You can’t make plays on the sidelines, so you should do everything you can to reduce your risk of getting hurt on the field.
While having a strong core won’t make you immune to getting injured, having a strong core can help reduce your risk to suffering lower-back pain and injuries.
As a former collegiate player that still experiences lower-back issues from time to time, trust me when I tell you that you want to take every precaution you can to prevent going through lower back issues.
7. Balance – You can’t make plays laying on the ground, so it’s in your best interest to work on your balance.
There’s not a place on the field where balance isn’t important, but it’s absolutely crucial for running backs and players along the line of scrimmage that experience contact nearly every play.
If you’re a running back or receiver, you know how important it is to be able to gain yards after contact.
If you want to improve your ability to gain yards after getting hit, you definitely want to improve your balance.
Although your equilibrium plays a huge part in your balance, staying up after contact relies on hip, ankle, and knee stability, along with strong core muscles.
8. Decreased risk of muscle imbalances – In a nutshell, muscle imbalances occur when muscles that work together are imbalanced in regards to size, strength, and/or flexibility.
These imbalances cause muscles to become overused as they try to compensate for the imbalances.
A very well-known and highly respected sports trainer said that he believed that nearly 65% of all human injuries are related to muscle imbalances.
9. Improved posture/overall athletic performance – Now with the other benefits mentioned in this article, like better change of direction abilities and power, it’s pretty obvious that having a strong core can help you become a better football player on the field.
But there’s another reason why a strong core can help you on the field, and that’s because of the benefits of having better posture.
Believe it or not, having better posture can improve your performance on the field.
The American Medical Athletic Association conducted a study and concluded that when you have improper amounts of pressure on your joints, spine, muscles, and/or nerves, your athletic performance will drop.
And as you guessed, a stronger core can prevent these “improper” amounts of pressure from being placed on these body parts.
So there you have nine ways working on your core can improve your performance on the field.
What’s next, is that you find a core workout, and get to work. It’s time to dominate!