Saturday, July 21, 2012

Core strength does NOT equal speed

I have an athlete I've been coaching, and they have incredible core strength. Years of swimming, and lots of core work, 5 times per week, up to an hour per session.

This athlete though is not happy with where their performance is. The first thing I am doing as the coach is cutting back the core strength. This sounds like blasphemy to some, as core strength is the "in" thing. But if core strength translated to speed, this athlete would be one of the fastest around. But they're not.

Strengthen your core, sure, but there comes a point where the effort you put into getting the extra few percentage points of improved core is wasted, as you could be putting that effort toward things that actually make you faster.

Coach Vance


Central Park Fitness said...

Of course core strength doesnt directly equal speed, but it equals POTENTIAL for speed. Strong core is like a stiff bottom bracket; it enables maximum power transfer.

Jim Vance said...

True, but maximum power transfer doesn't mean much if the power isn't there to begin with. That's why 4-cylinder engine cars don't come with a racing chassis. Spend time building the engine, that's where the money is made. Once an athlete comes close to maximizing the engine, time to get the other small percentages detailed.

Austin Simply Fit said...

so what do you recommend will make you faster? The application of power will increase speed, and you can't increase power output with a weak core. I agree that core strength does not equal speed. It's what you do with the strong core that increases speed.

Jim Vance said...

I recommend building your engine, especially that which is specific to your goals. Spending more than 10%(+/-) of your training hours on core strength simply means you spending time on something which isn't directly benefiting you. If core strength was so great, Crossfit athletes would dominate triathlon. We all know that is silly though. Specificity is the key to success, and core strength is NOT specific.