How to Get an Explosive Core for Athletes

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Athletes need explosive power to excel in their sport, whether they swing a golf club or do multiple flips and turns in gymnastics. To attain such explosive power with a reduced risk of injury, you need to develop a strong and stable core, which allows better movement control and coordination in your whole body, according to a review published in the November-December 2011 issue of "Current Sports Medicine Reports," which was conducted by researchers from University of Colorado School of Medicine. While the deep abdominal, spine and hip muscles stabilize your body, the outer core muscles near the surface produce force and move your body -- hence the term "explosive core."

Things You'll Need

  • Medicine ball (weight varies)
  • Plyometric box or a similar sturdy platform

Leg Power Combo

  • Stand with your feet about hip-distance apart with your feet pointing forward. Bend your hips, knees and ankles at the same time and swing your arms behind you to prepare to jump. Do not round your spine. Exhale as you jump straight up and swing your arms overhead. Extend your torso slightly while you're in midair. Land lightly on the balls of your feet and toes with your knees bent to absorb the landing impact. Perform six to 10 reps.

  • Use a plyometric box that reaches as high as your knees. Put your right foot on top of the box and place the left foot on the floor near the box. Swing your arms behind you and bend your left knee and ankle slightly to initiate the jump. Exhale as you jump straight up while swinging your arms overhead and extending your torso slightly. Switch the position of your feet while you're in midair, and land gently with your right foot on the floor and your left foot on the box. Repeat the exercise as fast as you can for 10 to 20 reps.

  • Stand with your left foot about two feet in front of you in a stride position. Bend your legs to do a half lunge, and swing your arms slightly behind you. Exhale as you jump straight up and swing your arms overhead, extending your torso slightly. Land on the floor with your feet in the same starting position, gently landing on your toes and the balls of your feet. Repeat the exercise as fast as you can for 10 to 20 reps. Rest for two to three minutes before repeating this routine two to three more times.

Medicine Ball Throw Combo

  • Stand about 10 to 12 feet away from a sturdy wall with your feet slightly apart. Hold a medicine ball over your head with your elbows slightly bent. Take one step forward and exhale as you throw the ball at the wall. Catch the ball after it bounces off the wall and the floor once. Step back quickly to the starting position, and repeat the exercise as fast as you can for 10 to 20 reps. Do not hunch your back when you throw.

  • Stand about three to four feet away from the wall with your feet about hip-distance apart. Hold the medicine ball near your chest with both hands, and bend your legs slightly to initiate the throw. Exhale as you throw the ball at the wall by straightening your legs quickly and extending your arms at the same time. The throw resembles a basketball pass. Catch the ball after it bounces off the wall once. Repeat the exercise as fast as you can for 10 to 20 reps.

  • Stand with your legs about shoulder-distance apart, and hold the medicine ball over your head with your arms slightly bent. Exhale as you bend your legs and hips while slamming the ball on the floor in front of you as hard as you can without hurting your shoulders. Do not flex your spine as you throw. Catch the ball after it bounces on the floor once. Perform 10 to 20 reps as fast as you can. Rest for two to three minutes before repeating the workout two to three more times.

Tips & Warnings

  • Weights of medicine balls could range between two to 20 pounds. The one you should use depends on certain things. Use a heavier medicine ball and perform fewer reps if you want to train for strength and power. For speed training, use a lighter medicine ball and perform more reps. The weight of the ball should be light enough for you to control your force and your form properly, yet it shouldn't be too light that you don't gain the strength and power benefits of power training. Experiment with different weights to see what works best for you.
  • Rest for 20 to 30 seconds between exercise sets if necessary.
  • Stop exercising if you experience pain in your lower body, back or shoulders. Consult a qualified medical professional before you resume exercise.

References

  • Photo Credit Quinn Rooney/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
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