The Role of Core Stability in Athletic Function


The importance of function of the central core of the body for stabilisation and force generation in all sports activities is being increasingly recognised. ‘Core stability’ is seen as being pivotal for efficient biomechanical function to maximise force generation and minimise joint loads in all types of activities ranging from running to throwing. However, there is less clarity about what exactly constitutes ‘the core’, either anatomically or physiologically, and physical evaluation of core function is also variable.

‘Core stability’ is defined as the ability to control the position and motion of the trunk over the pelvis to allow optimum production, transfer and control of force and motion to the terminal segment in integrated athletic activities. Core muscle activity is best understood as the pre-programmed integration of local, single-joint muscles and multi-joint muscles to provide stability and produce motion. This results in proximal stability for distal mobility, a proximal to distal patterning of generation of force, and the creation of interactive moments that move and protect distal joints. Evaluation of the core should be dynamic, and include evaluation of the specific functions (trunk control over the planted leg) and directions of motions (three-planar activity). Rehabilitation should include the restoring of the core itself, but also include the core as the base for extremity function.

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No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this review. The authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this review.

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Correspondence to Aaron Sciascia.

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Kibler, W.B., Press, J. & Sciascia, A. The Role of Core Stability in Athletic Function. Sports Med 36, 189–198 (2006).

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  • Pelvic Floor Muscle
  • Core Stability
  • Muscle Activation Pattern
  • Transverse Abdominus
  • Kinetic Chain