Can common measures of core stability distinguish performance in a shoulder pressing task under stable and unstable conditions?

  • Keogh J
  • Aickin S
  • Oldham A
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Keogh, JWL, Aickin, SE, and Oldham, ARH. Can common measures of core stability distinguish performance in a shoulder pressing task under stable and unstable conditions? J Strength Cond Res 24(2): 422-429, 2010-The primary purpose of this study was to determine whether a range of static core stability (CS) measures could distinguish shoulder press performance in unstable vs. stable conditions. Thirty resistance-trained men gave informed consent to participate in this study. One-repetition maximum strength (from < 6 repetitions) was predicted in the seated shoulder dumbbell press performed in unstable (Swiss ball[SB]) and stable (back-support bench) environments. Three CS muscle endurance tests were performed, with 4 CS ratios also calculated. The degree of strength decrement, referred to as the instability strength level (ISL), was calculated by dividing the predicted 1RM Unstable score by the 1RM Stable score. All subjects were categorized as high (ISL > 0.90), moderate (0.85 ≤ ISL ≤ 0.90), or low (ISL < 0.85). Between-group differences for the high- and low-ISL groups were assessed using analysis of variance and effect sizes. Pearson product moment correlations were then performed to examine the relationships between the CS measures and the ISL for the entire group. No significant between-group differences (p = 0.132-0.999) or large effect sizes were observed for any of the CS measures. Trunk flexion endurance was the only CS measure significantly correlated to the ISL (r = 0.477). In line with muscular strength research, these results suggest that CS exhibits relatively high levels of task specificity and that CS performance in static single-joint exercises may not be highly related to that in more dynamic multijoint activities. Core stability training (with or without a SB) may therefore only lead to significant improvements in functional dynamic performance if the postures, mode and velocity of contraction performed in training, are similar to the competitive tasks.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Core strength
  • Instability
  • Muscular endurance
  • Specificity

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  • Justin W L Keogh

  • Sam E. Aickin

  • Anthony R H Oldham

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