In our Boulder Physical Therapy practice we often train the foundation of the body prior to moving to distal extremities. Physical Therapy exercises targeting the trunk musculature including the shoulder blades, core and spinal movers and stabilizers often are contributing factors to areas of pain in the extremities including the shoulder, knee, and elbow. Most intuitively core and trunk stabilization is critical to improving spinal pain including neck and back pain. Outside of patients with symptoms, core stabilization training should be an essential part of a training program either targeted directly with exercises such as planks or indirectly by training compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, presses, and pulls. A recent review of the medical literature discussed the importance of this training for both fitness and sports performance.
Saeterbakken and colleagues conducted a systematic review of 31 studies including 693 participants to determine the outcomes on core stabilization training for fitness and sports performance (Sports Medicine. 2022). Authors found significant effects of trunk muscle training on maximal muscle strength, trunk muscle endurance, lower extremity strength and power, as well as, sprinting speed. In addition, local trunk stabilization training was found to have a moderate effect on sports performance. Training sessions > 30 minutes were significantly more effective at improving sports performance vs. sessions < 30 minutes.