I am in the very fortunate position that a large percentage of my time is spent online reading articles, postings and forums, so keeping up-to-date on what is going on in the world of Enduarance sports and training is pretty easy (and I get paid to do it).

I have come across any number of articles written about the Core, how to strengthen it, why you should include Core conditioning in your training etc.

A more interesting article I stumbled across was written about the role Core stability might play in the prevention of running injuries.

An Elite level marathon was video taped running barefoot on a treadmill, from the front and the back.

Clearly visible was that he had a noticeable pronation at his ankle (on foot strike the inside arch of his foot collapses inward).

The cause is generally associated with instability at the hip, resulting in the knee rotating inwards (called a Valgus loading), and this translates into the ankle pronation.

Our Elite runner did not have either of the Hip and Knee malalignment issues described above.

Interestingly enough, he had never experienced injury in his more than 15 years of racing at the highest level of competition.

From behind, you would expect to see a noticeable movement of the Pelvic Girdle. There was none.

How is that possible? Well, the stabilizers of the Trunk and Pelvic Girdle (Transversus Abdominus, Internal and External Obliques and the Multifidus of the Spine) were able to keep the Pelvis stable, and this translated to no kinetic deviation further along the chain.

Enter the non-elite runner, who was running barefoot, and displaying only a very small amount of Pronation at the ankle, and had suffered from various injuries around the knee and the hip.

From behind, the culprit was easily identifiable - work Core stabilizers.

The hips were rocking and this translated into the "collapsing of the knee" inward as the foot planted on the surface, resulting in ankle Pronation.

The take away from this is that the implemetation of some basic Core strengthening exercises can play a crucial role in achieving optimal preformance and remaining injury free.

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at MyPypeline.com, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.
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