Core Stability > Core Muscles
Core stability is achieved by learning how to actively contract certain muscles in the abdominal and lower back area. These muscles are the obliques and transversus abdominis, quadratus lumborum, multifidus, rotators, erector spinae and rectus abdominis. Just as these muscles contribute to and help control leg and back movement, another set of muscles performs the same role for the shoulders and arms.
The key stabilising muscle is the transversus abdominus (deep abdominal muscle). As a cricketer, your aim is to be able to activate this muscle during cricket i.e. when bowling, batting and lunging to catch a ball.
Activating your Transversus Abdominis (trans abs)
Imagine you need to stop yourself from 'peeing' and 'scoop' the lower part of your stomach, below the navel, 'up and in' to activate the 'trans abs.' This does not need to be a maximal effort - to isolate this muscle it is better to apply a 3 out of 10 effort.
Make a point of activating the trans abs during exercise and while sitting to help teach them to recruit automatically. After a while, the trans abs will activate automatically - this is your goal.
Activating your Multifidus
These are small muscles that stabilise the vertebrae of your back and are often recruited as a result of successful trans ab 'activation'. To identify these muscles, stand in neutral, and place the fingers of your left hand slightly left of the middle of your lower back - now wave your right arm up and down - you should feel the multifidus muscles activate.
Your main power generators, the 'glutes' provide control and contribute to a stable base. They support the lower back and hamstrings and should be regarded as your 'engine' for hip extension - your power generators when bowling and batting. Many players suffer from weak glutes that do not activate which leaves the lower back and hamstrings to take the strain.
A recipe for hamstring injuries and diminished speed and power
Many players are poor at activating their gluteals during cricket and often have to rely on their hamstrings to do the work of the glutes. A variety of core stability drills can be used to activate the gluteals and the other muscles that contribute to core stability.
Upper Body Muscles
Your upper body stability incorporates your shoulder girdle and acts as an anchor for your arm movements through rotator cuff muscles. Similar to the lower body muscles, the cuff can be trained to provide a solid base for arm movement. This is crucial during all aspects of cricket, particularly batting, throwing and bowling.