The relationship between core stability and athletic performance in female university athletes
Background: Questions remain as to whether core stability represents a single or more components, how to assess core stability, and if a relationship exists with athletic performance in different sport codes.
Objectives: To investigate the relationship between core stability and athletic performance in female university athletes.
Methods: Eighty-three female athletes (hockey, netball, running, soccer and tennis) participated in this quantitative, cross-sectional study. The isometric back extension (IBE), lateral flexion (LF) and abdominal flexion (AF) tests were used to measure core strength and endurance. The core stability grading system using a pressure biofeedback unit was applied to measure core neuromuscular control (NMC). Athletic performance was assessed using the 40 m sprint, T-test, vertical jump (VJ) and the medicine ball chest throw (MBCT). Correlations between the core stability tests and the athletic performance tests were determined, overall and separately by sport. The effect of core stability on athletic performance was analysed using ANCOVA.
Results: Most correlations were weak (r=0.10–0.39), although a very strong correlation was found between LF (strength) and VJ (r=0.90). When considered separately, moderate correlations (r=0.40–0.69) were found between core strength, endurance and motor control with certain athletic performance tests in all five sport codes. In runners, strong correlations (r=0.70–0.89) occurred between AF (endurance) and VJ, and in tennis players between IBE (strength) and the sprint.
Conclusion: Correlations were found between core stability and athletic performance, although most correlations were negligible or weak. Athletic performance in different sport codes is associated with different components of core stability.
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