We often speak or write about how the core should react when force is being created in order to can gain stability and strength. After many years of trying numerous techniques, in my opinion the core braces by contracting as if preparing to be punched in the stomach. I believe this because I have tried and tested many exercises, as well assessed what the core does naturally. It braces tightly.
Years ago I learned a technique which required the abdominals to be drawn in. I tried it. It took me many years to gain complete unconscious control of it. However, it didn’t work for me. Every time I performed a natural reactive movement my core simply braced tightly, without drawing in.
Some of the tests I have used when analyzing my core are:
- Medicine Ball Fake Throws in all directions (check out Medicine ball Training for Speed Video at www.SportsSpeedEtc.com)
- Performing multiple landings on one and two feet.
- Punching my speed and punching bag.
- Performing push ups.
- Shuffling and changing directions.
With all of the above exercises, I would keep one hand on my core region. Every time my core reacted by bracing tightly and not sucking inward.
These findings, which happened to be many years ago, led me to indirect speed training exercises that helped my athletes to brace strongly and quickly. This bracing increased stability force in order to change direction quicker.
The medicine ball fake throws I use in all planes are fantastic at getting the athletes to unknowingly brace quicker and more forcefully. My girls basketball team have benefitted from these technique, especially with lateral movement.
The important object to note is when the core braces and creates great stability, the legs and feet do a better job of producing and receiving force from the ground (action reaction). My athletes’ feet, ankles, knees and hips are much more solid; therefore allow them to move quicker.
Try if for yourself. Bracing the core naturally can be improved by adding externally forces, such as in my Medicine Ball Training for Speed. They are safe, effective, and fun for athletes.