An introduction to core training

3rd June 2014

‘Core training’ has long been a buzz phrase in fitness circles, with many Personal Trainers and Fitness Instructors the World overtaking a vague understanding of the concept and running with it, to the point now that much of the original essence and foundation of core training has been lost along the way and replaced with ever more elaborate so-called ‘functional’ exercises.

It can be difficult then to know where to turn for good quality, evidence-based information as regards core training.

The name that experts in the field will typically cite, however, is Dr Stuart McGill.

Dr. McGill is perhaps the world’s foremost authority on the topic of core strengthening, with a whole library of literature and direct research backing up his theories and recommendations.

Core training done properly, is crucial for optimal functioning and injury prevention for the sportsperson. Particularly in a sport such as squash, with all the twisting, bending, and lunging going on, a strong core region is a very important part of the performance puzzle.

core trainingLower back issues in particular, so common in adults in all walks of life in this day and age, can be resolved/prevented by training and strengthening the core through the use of properly performed stability-based exercises.

The ‘core’ isn’t just one specific isolated area, however. The core is actually composed of a number of different interconnected structures and muscles covering a large area around the middle of the body, primarily the lumbar spine, the muscles of the abdominal wall, the back extensors, and quadratus lumborum.

For those interested in really getting into the topic of core training and lower back strengthening, check out this article by Dr. McGill. It’s written with the trainer in mind, so some of it is quite heavy going but is one of the best I’ve read on the topic. There are some further articles of his linked here that break the topic down a little more and are a little lighter to read, plus an interview with him here.

His two books ‘Low Back Disorders: Evidence-Based Prevention and Rehabilitation’ and ‘Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance’ are also well worth picking up for those with a particular interest in the topic.


Gary Nisbet

B.Sc.(Hons), CSCS, NSCA-CPT, Dip. FTST
SquashSkills Fitness & Performance Director

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