Master Your Core Book Summary - Master Your Core Book explained in key points

Master Your Core summary

Bohdanna Zazulak

A Science-Based Guide to Achieve Peak Performance and Resilience to Injury

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What is Master Your Core about?

Master Your Core (2021) provides a holistic overview of how strengthening your core can directly boost your athletic performance and mood while reducing injuries. It offers a scientific explanation of “core stability” and includes breathing, stretching, and dynamic exercises to train your core muscles and improve your overall health.

About the Author

Bohdanna Zazulak is a doctor of physical therapy, researcher, and faculty member at Yale New Haven Hospital and Yale University School of Medicine. She was the first to publish research that linked core stability to reduced injury rates, for which she won the American Physical Therapy Association’s Rose Award. Her pioneering research has appeared in prestigious medical journals and textbooks, and she was named a “Top Doctor” by Women in Medicine. 

Table of Contents
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    Your core initiates every major move your body makes.

    Luke started throwing a baseball in little league. Years later, in college, he became a star pitcher, but he suffered from recurring tendonitis in his shoulder and missed a lot of games. Then he tore two shoulder tendons and had to have surgery. 

    Luke thought his pitching days were over. But the author had a different plan. 

    When she met Luke for physical therapy, she added core training to his routine shoulder-strengthening exercises. Luke not only healed, but also achieved a pitch speed of 90 mph – his personal record – and remained injury-free for the rest of his career!

    How? It’s simple: by strengthening his core, he strengthened every other part of his body.

    The key message here is: Your core initiates every major move your body makes.

    Your body is an incredible machine. It’s made up of over 650 muscles that work together to get you out of bed and propel you through life. And your core is the most crucial link in that kinetic chain.

    Before we dive in deeper, let’s get one thing straight: your core’s a lot more than just your rectus abdominis, or abs. It’s also your glutes, back muscles, hip joints, pelvis, and spine. It initiates and can enhance every major move your body makes. To throw faster, run further, or feel steadier, you need a strong core.

    But strength alone isn’t enough. Its flip side, stability, is just as important.

    The author’s scientific definition of core stability is “The foundation of dynamic trunk control that allows production, transfer, and control of force and motion to distal segments of the body.” In other words, you need core stability to move your body the way you want to – and also to avoid getting injured when you step on the proverbial banana peel. 

    In a purely physical sense, this stability depends on three types of muscle contractions. The first is concentric, like when you do a crunch and your abs shorten. The second is eccentric – those same abs lengthen when you jump or catch yourself when you’re falling. The third kind is isometric, when your abs maintain constant tension in a static position – think planks.

    Core stability also involves proprioception. Often referred to as the “sixth sense,” proprioception is your ability to sense the location and motion of your body in space. Your levels of core control and proprioception are the most significant factors in preventing injuries. The author personally experienced this when she fell 50 feet off a steep cliff while mountain biking – and survived with just minor injuries. 

    On the other hand, isolated exercises like crunches actually promote injury because they imbalance the kinetic chain. The key is holistic training, which we’ll explore more in the coming blinks.

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    Who should read Master Your Core

    • Desk workers who want to improve their posture and mood
    • Injury-adverse athletes looking to boost strength and power
    • Anyone craving sculpted abs with a side of mental well-being

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