Core Conditioning for Your Pet

Icee sitting up and begging -- ain't she the cutest?

Icee sitting up and begging — ain’t she the cutest?

I know that you all hear me harp on core conditioning but I don’t know that we ever took a few minutes to explain why I get on my soap box about it. Core conditioning is the strengthening of the abdominal and back muscles.

  • The core transfers energy to the extremities (legs) in our pets so it affects the speed, endurance and strength of what your pet is doing. The abdominal and back muscles also help a pet to jump and turn; most injuries occur due to poor core strength.

Let’s repeat that — Most injuries occur due to poor core strength.

  • The core muscles include such muscles as: abdominal, obliques, rhombodius, trapezius, latissimus dorsi, multifidus, and pectoral muscles. These muscles are so very important to a good and safe life of exercise.

One of the most intense sports for humans is the triathlon. These competitors have to be able to run, swim and bike huge distances and all of these events depend on very strong back and abdominal muscles.

Michael Phelps may be one of the premier athletes of our time but he is not a long distance runner and the same can be said of other athletes — they cross train in everything but they specialize their training for their event. Michael Phelps exercise routine includes swimming, lifting weights and stretching (hmm — wonder how many times you have heard this?). He has a balanced routine that strengthens not only his legs and arms but also his core muscles.

Core conditioning can be done on a FitPAWS peanut easily and it does not take very long to help increase those muscles. There are also some basic exercises that work the back and abdominal muscles without equipment such as crawling, sit up and beg, and rolling over.

I am helping a search and rescue dog — he runs on average 8 miles while trying to find someone but he cannot sit up and beg but my 3-legged cat can sit and beg for hours; she is phenomenal (and not just because she is mine — lol!). I saw another cat this weekend with malformed front legs and her core strength was amazing — she rotated herself around on the table while sitting up.

Try doing some easy exercises such as crawling or teaching the sit up and beg for a few minutes each day. You can also do just balance work on the peanut for the same strengthening of the abdominal and back muscles but also only do a few minutes each day. 10-15 minutes a day is good for core conditioning and then see how well your dog competes at the next event — does he seem more “collected”, better able to turn, and is he improving with his speed and endurance? Give me a holler and tell me how it goes for you and your dog.


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