A lot football players fail to realize that they’re leaving a lot of their potential on the table by not training their core muscles.

With the odds stacked against you making it to the NFL as it is, you can’t afford to let that be you.

Cornerback DeAngelo Hall spends $12,000 a year to build his core in the offseason at Athletes Performance (ICON Sports)

Now we’ve all heard about the importance of core training, but do you really know why your core is so important?

If you did, you might be more enthused about training your core.

Related: Football and Yoga – Why More and More NFL Players Are Turning to Yoga – Part 1

If I knew some of this stuff myself back in college, I would’ve definitely paid more attention to core training, myself.

As they say nowadays, “leggo.”

(That’s current day slang for “let’s go,” for my fellow trend-challenged friends)

Lesson #1 – Your Core Is Made Up of More than Your Abs


Until a few years ago, I personally thought your core was just your abs and obliques, then I later found out that it included your lower back.

But that’s not it.

It also includes the muscles that run up and down your back, along your spine, in addition to your hip flexors and glutes.


Lesson #2 – Core Muscles Effect Your Change of Direction, Power, and Explosion


Is it fair to assume you want to have NFL-caliber change of direction abilities, explosion, and power?

Of course, you do.

Did you know that your core and legs work together to generate force when you move?

Your core works as the foundation, that, when combined with the strength of your legs, determine how much force you’re able to generate when you’re playing football.

As if that wasn’t enough, developing your core will help you lift more weight in the gym, too.

Related: Strength Training Fundamentals Every Player Should Know – Part One

According to James Stoppani, author of the Encyclopedia of Muscle and Strength, the amount of stress, strength, and endurance you have in your primary muscles is directly dependent upon the strength of your core muscles.

In Core Strength Training – How to Develop Your Center of Power, the author Phil (a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist) explains exactly how and why your core muscles might help you develop more power:

…before rapid movements of the extremities can take place, the central nervous system stabilizes the spine in anticipation. The rate at which the core muscles stabilize the spine may have a direct effect on the power of limb movement.


Lesson #3 – Developing Your Core Can Decrease Susceptibility to Injury


NFL teams remove players from consideration every year due to their histories of injuries.

If you want to get to the NFL, you need to take every precaution you can to avoid getting hurt.

Related: The Truth on How NFL Teams Will Look at Your Injuries

Building a strong core, especially in the muscles that support the spine, can help reduce lower-back pain and injuries.

You know those power cleans and deadlifts you’ve been doing to try to get more explosive and faster?  Well, you’re risking a serious lower back injury if you’re performing these lifts with weak core muscles.


Lesson #4 – A Stronger Core Will Improve Your Balance

Balance is something NFL scouts look closely at when they’re evaluating players.  Like your coach says, you can’t make plays on the ground.

In Core Training Exercises For Better Balance and Strength, Leigh Crews, spokesman for the American Council on Exercise, states that your core plays a role in your balance:

Balance not only requires equilibrium, but also good stability of the core muscles and the joints, particularly the hip, knee, and ankle…

Watch Patrick Willis of the San Francisco 49ers go through part of his off-season core workout:


Click the link below for part two!

Core Training for Football – Why Core Training is a MUST for NFL Hopefuls – Part Two

Do you work your core just as much as you do your other body parts when you train?  Did you learn anything from this post?  I’d love to hear your feedback below in the comments section.

Follow me on Twitter: @alvingrier

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Reference webpages:

Core Training Exercises For Better Balance and Strength (via webmd.com)

How to Fix Muscle Imbalance (via coreperformance.com)

Core Strength Training – How to Develop Your Center of Power (via sport-fitness-advisor.com)

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