Man, it is overwhelming isn’t it? I mean there is SO much information out there how can one ever tell what really works in training? Sure, you have those out there that will say “everything works”, that isn’t really true when you break it down, otherwise, people would be not quitting the gym at such a rapid rate! The reality is there is a science to training, as strength coach Robert Dos Remedios has famously said, “it isn’t rocket science, but it is still science.” That is especially true when it comes to core training.
People still largely think core training is about getting good looking abs. That is a nice benefit, but unless we think about what we do at the dinner table, what we do in the gym will rarely helps us achieve the goal of better looking abs! Still people look at the six pack as the sign that you know what you are doing when it comes to core training and NOTHING could be further from the truth!!!
That is why I wanted to break down 5 things that you NEED to know about core training that you maybe never realized!
The Real Role of the Core
Sadly, most fitness professionals can’t tell me the job of the core. I get words like “stability”, body control, etc. Yet, when I ask people to explain to me what that means I get a lot of frustrated looks. Look, I don’t do this to be a jerk, but these are the people that others come to seek for help and we better know WHY we do what we do!
The answer doesn’t have to be a super complicated answer either. The truth is the MAIN job of the core is to help connect the lower body and upper body together. When you look at how we are structured, without the core our extremities can’t perform and they can’t actually work together like they are designed in real life!
That is why you see so many of our core training exercises integrating not just what the abs are doing, but the arms, legs, and pelvis too!
Our Core Really Doesn’t Move….Much
One of the major ways that our core training helps connect the upper and lower body is by resisting unwanted movement. If we look at the shape of the obliques, the lats, even the glutes you notice the lines of these muscles are diagonals. If the job of the core was really to flex the body like crunches and sit-ups then most of our core muscles would be running up and down.
The way core training helps reduce injury and help performance is by preventing unwanted movement when our arms and legs do their jobs. Spinal expert, Dr. Stuart McGill, has called the inability of the core to accomplish this being a “leakage” of energy.
Drills like our drags and kneeling Around the Worlds are largely about teaching the body how to resist unwanted movement of the trunk and the more dynamic we build towards the better results we get from our core training.
Our Hips Rotate… Our Low Back, Not So Much
Pretty much everyone can understand that a ball and socket joint is designed to give us tons of movement. You see this structure in the shoulder and why the shoulder can move in so many different ways than compared to your elbow. It is similar in your hip and if we look what is above and below the hip we have the knee and the low back.
Of course we know the knee doesn’t have a lot of movement other than moving forward and back. What most people don’t realize, the low back isn’t structured for a lot of movement either! It is more of a foundation to the building that has movement forward and back (around 40-60 degrees in flexion, 20-35 degrees in extension, and then 3-18 degrees in rotation). Can you see the difference?
That means our core training should teach how to move through the hips while keeping the trunk relatively stable. This is especially true when we are under load or trying to create high levels of force.
Your Core Has A Special Relationship With The Lats & Glutes
Ask most people what muscles are using in core training movements and you will mostly probably hear obliques, rectus abdominis, in other words, mostly ab muscles. Yet, the reason we are saying core training and not ab training is because there are 35 muscles that are considered part of the core.
This is especially true of the lats and glutes. The lats are one of the biggest muscles of the body and the ONLY connection of the upper body to the lower body. Lats are really important for strength and stability by working as a big part of core training so we need to ensure they are part of the equation.
The same can be said of the glutes. In fact, the glutes and lats work together in what’s called the Posterior Oblique System (POS). This chain of muscles are designed to work together to give our body stability when we walk and run (complex and unstable movements). That means our core training HAS to connect these muscles to the abs and if we don’t, we may get a “pump”, but won’t make them better.
Advanced Core Training is Producing AND Resisting Motion
Most times in training we think advanced is simply a reflection of using more weight, or more reps. Those can be variables we use, but sometimes, heck, often advanced training means more sophisticated movements. When it comes to core training that means both producing and resisting force at the same time. Huh?
As you see the video from DVRT Master Cory Cripe, there is resistance of forces from the lumbar spine area, movement in the thoracic spine, power coming from the hips, but the glutes also working to prevent unwanted motion of the pelvis.
Without understanding what is going on, most might think this is a “whacky” exercise. Having a deeper understanding gives us such better insight into building core training that really makes a difference in our training.
Find out so much more in our L.I.F.T. (loaded integrated functional training) certification modules HERE and total program HERE(get our Power & Strength Ultimate Sandbag for FREE with the complete set **only for US customers) for 30% off with code “lift1”. Find out how we use all these progressions to build a much bigger world of real strength.
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