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Progressions of Isometric Core Training

Mendrin, Natasha MS; Lynn, Scott K. PhD; Griffith-Merritt, Halecia K. MS; Noffal, Guillermo J. PhD

Strength and Conditioning Journal: August 2016 - Volume 38 - Issue 4 - p 50–65
doi: 10.1519/SSC.0000000000000233
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ABSTRACT WITH THE GROWTH IN POPULARITY OF CORE TRAINING, IT IS IMPORTANT THAT THERE IS A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF HOW TO BEST TAILOR THESE EXERCISES TO SAFELY MEET THE NEEDS OF DIFFERENT INDIVIDUALS. EXTENSIVE RESEARCH HAS SHOWN THAT TRAINING THE CORE MUSCLES ISOMETRICALLY, THAT IS WITHOUT BENDING THE SPINE, IS SAFE AND MAY HELP REDUCE THE INCIDENCE OF BACK INJURY. EXERCISE PROFESSIONALS MUST HAVE THE ABILITY TO MODIFY ISOMETRIC CORE EXERCISES AND ALTER THEIR DIFFICULTY TO ENSURE THAT THEY PROVIDE A SAFE AND APPROPRIATE CHALLENGE FOR INDIVIDUALS OF VARYING FITNESS LEVELS AND TRAINING GOALS. THEREFORE, THIS ARTICLE SUMMARIZES THE CURRENT RESEARCH THAT OUTLINES THE POTENTIAL NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES OF CONSTANTLY BENDING OR MOVING THROUGH THE SPINE. THIS PROVIDES THE RATIONALE FOR TRAINING THE CORE ISOMETRICALLY TO AVOID REPLICATING THESE KNOWN MECHANISMS OF INJURY DURING EXERCISE. EXAMPLES OF ISOMETRIC CORE EXERCISES OF VARYING DIFFICULTY ARE ALSO PROVIDED, AS WELL AS A MODEL OUTLINING HOW TO IMPLEMENT THESE PROGRESSIONS TO SAFELY MEET THE NEEDS OF ANY INDIVIDUAL IN A GENERAL FITNESS POPULATION.

Center for Sport Performance, Department of Kinesiology, California State University, Fullerton, California

Address correspondence to Dr. Scott K. Lynn, slynn@exchange.fullerton.edu.

Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding: The authors report no conflicts of interest and no source of funding.

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Natasha MendrinDepartment of Kinesiology, California State University, Fullerton, CA.

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Scott K. Lynnis an Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at California State University, Fullerton, CA.

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Halecia K. Griffith-MerrittDepartment of Kinesiology, California State University, Fullerton, CA.

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Guillermo J. Noffalis a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at California State University, Fullerton, CA.

© 2016 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association