By Kim Duke, NETA & AAFA Certified Trainer
Without sounding like a broken record, your core strength is essential to an overall strong body. Case in point, my youngest client, Noah Morlock, is nine years old. Noah came to me after he had broken his leg and was completing physical therapy. Noah, who is well known for his athletic strengths as a wrestler and peewee football player, had lost his confidence after injuring his leg. He had to literally relearn coordination. due to the absence of the use of his leg for several weeks. He also still walked with a pronounced limp.
After assessing Noah, I clearly saw that he was relying solely on his legs for walking, running, lunging, etc. What I explained to him is that if he was not engaging his CORE, he would not be able to accomplish these basic moves.
That phrase, “Engage Your Core” became our motto. We also discussed the benefits of breathing, more specifically, EXHALING. Deep breathing aids in controlling your core’s tightness and the force in which you complete a task like pushing, pulling and elasticity movements such as leaping, lunging and running.
Noah just completed his tenth session with me. I have had the pleasure of watching him gain his strength and confidence back and then some.
When he began, he could barely squat or lunge, struggled to battle rope for more than 20 seconds and needed plenty of rest breaks. Today was his ultimate test, 50-second timed stations with only 10 seconds to get to the next station. Noah slammed a 20 lb. slam ball, high-kneed on the trampoline, lunged (beautifully), battle roped, TRX skated, and plank walked with push ups AND he did this three times through.
Noah’s perseverance and determination were a driving factor throughout, but at the age of nine years old, I saw such a tremendous amount of growth in the span of five weeks!
So, what’s the point of this article? The point is, you are NEVER too young to learn to engage your core. As a matter of fact, when engaging your core for stability, the goal is to create as solid a ring of muscles around your mid-section as possible. To achieve that, you have to activate your core muscles slightly outward, stiffening them to create a protective “cylinder” around your abdomen. It’s a crucial component for good function, posture, and better to learn it earlier versus later.
Noah is now a key member in our Kids Fit program. I even joked (suggested) with him, that someday he would be running his own class on core strength!