Implementing Core Training Concepts into Strength Training for Sport

by Kyle O'Toole, CSCS
NSCA Coach August 2020
Vol 7, Issue 1


This article provides an understanding of the role the core plays during execution of athletic movements, as well as provides evidence-based concepts that help to strengthen the core and maximize movement performance.

Progressive development of the core musculature is a key component to creating a successful strength training program. Developing the muscles surrounding the pelvis, hips, lower back, and abdomen may help to build strength and stability. Interest in core strengthening involving athletes has increased over the years. This has created concepts and best practices that strength and conditioning coaches utilize in their own ways. For strength and conditioning coaches to effectively implement core training practices into strength training with athletes, at any level, they need to possess a solid understanding of the structure and function of the core and be able to create a program that will help their athletes best reach their performance goals.

This article will provide an understanding of the role the core plays during execution of athletic movements and provide evidence-based concepts that help to strengthen the core and maximize movement performance. Additionally, this article will identify some of the essential concepts to training the core and review sample exercises that strength and conditioning coaches can use to create their own approach with athletes.

This article originally appeared in NSCA Coach, a quarterly publication for NSCA Members that provides valuable takeaways for every level of strength and conditioning coach. You can find scientifically based articles specific to a wide variety of your athletes’ needs with Nutrition, Programming, and Youth columns. Read more articles from NSCA Coach »

Related Reading



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3. Fredericson, M, and Moore, T. Core stabilization training for middle- and long-distance runners. New Studies in Athletics 20(1): 25-37, 2005.

4. Hibbs, AE, Thompson, KG, French, D, Wrigley, A, and Spears, I. Optimizing performance by improving core stability and core strength. Sports Medicine 38(12): 995-1008, 2008.

5. Irish, SE, Millward, AJ, Wride, J, Haas, BM, and Shum, G. The effect of closed-kinetic chain exercises and open-kinetic chain exercise on the muscle activity of vastus medialis oblique and vastus lateralis. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 24(5): 1256-1262, 2010.

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10. Nadler, SF, Malanga GA, Bartoli LA, Feinberg, JH, Prybicien, M, and Deprince, M. Hip muscle imbalance and low back pain in athletes: Influence of core strengthening. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 34(1): 9-16, 2002.

11. Rusin, JS, and Butcher, SJ. Core strength and functionality with loaded carries. NSCA Coach 4(3): 24-27, 2017.

12. Schibek, JS, Guskiewicz, KM, Prentice, WE, Mays, S, and Davis, JM. The Effect of Core Stabilization Training on Functional Performance in Swimming. Master’s thesis, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2001.

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About the author

Kyle O'Toole, MS, CSCS, RSCC

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