Much has been written recently about Core strength and training in relation to low back dysfunction but less attention is paid to the role the Core plays in upper and lower limb function, injury and treatment.

A combination of strength, power and endurance is critical for the Core muscles to allow the athlete to reach his/her potential in their chosen sport – whether it is Tennis, Rugby, Running, Cycling, Swimming, Squash or Football.

Did you know that tennis player Andy Roddick had severe shoulder and elbow pain back in 2000 but after the correct evaluation and specific upper body exercise and conditioning programme, he was not only pain free but added 15mph to his serve?

The Core can be divided into lower quadrant Core which is the muscles, ligaments and fascia that produce stability and movement of the trunk, hip and lower extremity, and the upper quadrant Core which includes the scapulothoracic and shoulder joints.

The initiation of movement in the upper and lower limb is a direct result of activation of certain muscles that hold onto bone (stabilisers) and others that move bone (mobilisers). Muscle action within the Core relies on a balance between the stabilisers and the mobilisers and a lack of harmony between the two can result in muscle imbalance and injury not only in the lower back but also upper and lower limbs.

Sports specific rehabilitation specialists identify deficits within the Core and design rehab programmes that increase strength, power and endurance to the specific muscles and joints that are is a state of dysfunction. Specificity can help the athlete overcome musculoskeletal deficits and achieve their maximium potential.