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Will building my 'core strength' prevent injuries?

From Friday's Globe and Mail

Six-pack abs look great, but develop hip and pelvic muscles to keep injuries at bay ...Read the full article

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  1. Darryl Fraser from Georgetown, Canada writes: Typically, injuries are caused by a lack of proper form, function or intensity. I suggest checking out for programming ideas used to prevent injuries within the main workout since the entire body is trained as a functional unit and 'the core' is not isolated. By actually running less and using Crossfit as programming, I have been consistently reducing my 5k and 10k times.
  2. Mark Tilley from Brampton, Canada writes:

    'Always perform these exercises after a workout ... if these exercises are done before a workout the risk of injury increases due to fatigue.'


    Why would I be more fatigued BEFORE the workout than after?

    Perhaps the writer is referring to the risk of injury from the workout, not these exercises. Not exactly clearly written.
  3. C C from Coombs BC, Canada writes: Oh my. Only the lets not strain anything crowd can benefit from this.

    I'm 61 and squat and deadlift 140lbs. Been doing it for years. Crunch with a 10lb weight on my head ... core has got to be strong. Then I can crash the dirt bike and do all that other fun stuff old people are supposed to avoid so they won't get hurt..

    The above will not hurt you but will not do much for you either.
  4. B H from Toronto, Canada writes: CC, and yet 92% of the people at that running injury clinic had trouble with the simple exercises. So obviously it's pretty common, especially among those who get injured. If you find what they suggest really really easy, then the advice is probably not really directed at you.
  5. Michael Tripper from Vancouver, Canada writes: or pick up roller-blading - awesome for those muscles...
  6. C C from Coombs BC, Canada writes: My point, not well made, is that squats and deadlifts are the answer. All those muscles get hit hard. If I could only do two exercises it would be those two. All the hip, leg, back, and shoulders and arms get hit with both of those, especially with dumbbells. You actually need the crunches to complete the front part of core strength but squats hit those abbs too.
  7. Alistair McLaughlin from Canada writes: CC, throw in bench press, shoulder press (military press) and bent-over rows and you have a complete total-body workout. And kudos to you. Hope I'm still lifting weights and trashing motorized vehicles of some sort when I'm 61.
  8. r r from Canada writes: ' Place opposite foot behind the leg using resistance band.'

    Is it just me, or is that crappy english? Makes no sense.
  9. Emma Hawthorne from Canada writes: I think leg presses are terrific as they strengthen knees, hips, build bone density and build up some of the body's bigger muscles, hence you stoke the metobolic burning machine, which is great for weight control.
  10. R. M. from Regina, Canada writes: Good article but illustrations would have been very helpful.
  11. Saskatchewan Seal Hunter Club from Canada writes: I got six pack abs.........and it took many six packs to get them.
  12. J W from Toronto, Canada writes: R.M., if you click on the picture in the article to enlarge, it gives you illustrated instructions.
  13. Dennis sinneD from Calgary, Canada writes: Emma Hawthorne from Canada writes: 'I think leg presses are terrific as they strengthen knees, hips, build bone density and build up some of the body's bigger muscles, hence you stoke the metobolic burning machine, which is great for weight control. '

    There is no substitute for the squat.

  14. mike fall from writes: is an invaluable resource.
    As far as building core strength there are a number of excellent exercises out there. The over head squat is in my opinion one of the best core muscle builders out there. As our core is designed to hold our body upright it stands to reason that loading the body with weight overhead will facilitate massive improvements in core strength.
    The squat and the dead lift are indeed excellent exercises. But they focus more on hip flexors and lower back then on core. However we may be splitting hairs here.
    C C with all due respect but at 61 and being active the way you sound a 140 dead lift can likely be improved. You would love crossfit...check it out.
    There are many gymnastics exercises that are great for the core: hollow rock, pull ups, L sits and the good old push up come to mind.
    The key to fitness is intensity. Without it, all the time you spend in a gym is of little value. Working at a high level of intensity, with no running training ,I recently, on my 40th birthday ran a 4 K with a 40 pound vest on. 16:05. if you want to train is must to look at.
  15. mike fall from writes: Bench press = Chesticles. No real application in the world as your mass and the weight are artificially supported. Good if you are trapped under a car but otherwise....still fun... but not a functional movement. IMHO
  16. Wil Seto from Vancouver, Canada writes: In response to what Dr. Ferber said about Hip Strengthening, I absolutely agree with him. Whenever I treat athletes, especially runners, more often than not, there is usually an asymmetrical difference in hip strength, predominantly hip abductors. However, I find that treating the 'core strength' of an athlete also involves the inner core muscles such as the transversus abdominis and lumbar multifidus. These are important stabilizers of the spine, pelvis & hip, which ultimately influence the rest of the lower extremity mechanics.

    For more information about core exercises or sport injuries feel free to contact me @ I am a Sport Physiotherapist working out of Kitsilano, Vancouver, BC. As an Orthopaedic & Sport Physiotherapist I have worked extensively with numerous athletes at an elite to amateur to recreational level.
  17. emilio D from Canada writes: According to Dr. Ferber, a 40 year old patient with a knee pain who also has a fantastic six pack abdominal muscles was unable to complete a simple one-legged squat. One legged squat is simple especially for a person with a knee pain? Try it and see how simple it is. To cure a knee pain, you have to strengthen the hip muslces? I dunno.
  18. emilio D from Canada writes: Wil Seto, how do you test the hip abductors when they are running?
  19. Mark Heard from Calgary, writes: I saw Dr. Ferber in his clinic a couple of weeks ago after suffering from some tendonitis/bursitis in my hip while training for a half marathon (this is my first year running).

    He put me on this exact regimen, and so far so good...still feel some pain, but am able to run through it and it's definitely improving.

    I have very flat feet, but in conjunction with orthotics, I believe that stronger hips will go a long way in straightening out my gait and correcting the pronation that caused the original injury.

    Time will tell, but so far, I'm pretty happy with Dr. Ferber's recommendation...
  20. C C from Coombs BC, Canada writes: Mike the 140 lbers are on my way back from a pretty severe endo that dropped me right on my back. I'll run it up to my weight 160 like before and that's enough as I'm not a big boned guy and the 80 lb dumbbells are about what my wrists are happy with without a strap.
  21. C C from Coombs BC, Canada writes: One should also remember that the weights are lifted a bunch of times. I can squat over 200 lbs but only once. I can do 12 140s and will soon up that a bit as I don't like a lot of reps.

    Uh crossfit is for you city people. I got a 1000 meter ridge right out back, Arrowsmith mountain just behind that and BC bush to play in with my dirt and mountain bikes. It's brutal out there ;).
  22. Eat your Weedies from Canada writes: I always wonder about how people take advice. You say 'core' and a few million do nothign but core. or hip. or biceps. or whatever.

    It is far more beneficial to regularly engage in a host of different activities that benefit nothing too specifically but everything generally.

    I say do some karate or TaeKwonDo! It keeps you limber, strong for white and red muscle and requires strong core and pelvic muscles to execute kicks properly. You are learning self defense but you are gaining stamina and fitness. Exercise is for dummies!
  23. emilio D from Canada writes: Unfortunately, there are no medical studies that support the effectiveness of core strentghening exercises. They( rehabilitation industry) are just using these approaches because all the rest of back exercises have been proven to be useless. First, there was the Williams Flexion exercises to treat back pain. Williams suggested that stretgthening the abdominals will
    provide stability for the back. A medical a study shut it down. Then came
    MacKenzie back extension exercises. He suggested that only extension exercises will stabilize the back and prevent injuries and also effective as a treatment. The Malmivaara study kept everybody quiet when it declared that this exercise is useless in improving the condition of the patients with back pain. Then what? From the Pilates exercises came the core strengthening exercises. The billion dollar rehabilitation industry has to provide proof to the insurance companies who pay them to justify their existence. It's all marketing gimmick and no scientific substance- hot air. Walk don't run.
  24. Wil Seto from Vancouver, Canada writes: In response to your inquiries about testing for hip abduction strength during running. A gait analysis of running can be performed to ascertain it's ability to stabilize the pelvis, which will in turn provide adequate knee alignment. Other tests such as functional 1-legged balance, hop, squat tests and manual strength testing can give us an idea of the strength impairment of the hip abductors.

    As for your inquiries about the effectiveness of core strengthening exercises for back injuries... there have been a lot of research showing that specific core exercises are effective for back pain & injuries. Lee, Richardson, Hodges are some names of the people that have research in looking at this. It is specific core muscles that is specific to your specific condition that is needed if you have back pathology. If you have an injury, the reason why pilates or yoga may not help it specifically is because you need a your back assessed by a trained physiotherapist to know what is causing your back pain.
  25. emilio D from Canada writes: Wil Seto, thanks for your reply. It amazing though that core strenghtening exercises are being presented as the main approach in preventing and treating back pain but the studies that you mentioned are very weak studies because they involved very small number of subjects in each study. Danneels et. al found that general stabilization exercises and dynamic intensive lumbar resistance training have no effect on the CSA( cross section area) of the lumbar multifidus muscle using MRI measurements. This involved 59 subjects divided into three groups. Richardson et al had 39 subjects, O'sullivan et al has 44 subjects. All of them have severe methodological flaws so their conclusions cannot be accepted as conclusive that core strengthening exercise are effective in
    the treatment of back pain. But medical rehabilitation centers are using it as a "cure all" and "prevent all" for all kinds of spinal injuries.

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