If we look at the landscape of fitness right now, people should be getting BETTER results than ever! I remember as a teenager I couldn’t wait to get the new muscle magazine as that was the only resource I knew of to get “serious” training information. Then in college, when the internet was just really starting (man I’m old!), once a week the best fitness website would drop their new articles. Every Friday I would wait for 3 p.m. to roll around so that I could read the new article and try the ideas presented.
Nowadays though, you can just wake up and find an overwhelming amount of free training information on the internet, social media, etc. You don’t have to wait, you don’t have to put much work in tracking down information. Of course, not all information is good information. No better example of this exists than when it comes to core training.
In most simple terms, the core is designed to stabilize our spine so our arms and legs can produce great force and work together to make complex movement appear simple. I know, we often say as fitness professionals that core has little to do with a six pack, yet, when I look around the internet that is what I still see even from professionals.
Helping people understand six packs are about levels of body fat and not strength of the core is key because it helps us focus on better exercises. I get it, when I ran my facility people really thought having their abs burn was the sign that they were on their way to achieving their six pack. So, selling people that core training didn’t always make their abs want to explode was challenging at first.
That isn’t to say we don’t feel anything when we do proper core training. In fact, the reason I think so many coaches come to fall in love with how we teach core training in DVRT is that it both works FAST and people can buy into the movements because they do feel the connections we talk about come to life, yes, even the “ab burn”.
With all the variations of different core exercises out there why is that we keep touting what we do with DVRT not just as “more” core training, but way better ways? It has to do with the intent of the movements. Let’s take the example of a dead bug which is a tremendous foundational core training exercise.
The goal of the dead bug is to remove a lot of the elements of gravity so we can work on developing these base connections of the body. The goal being if we can connect the chains of the body we can keep our pelvis stable. That leads us to HOW we do so as DVRT Master, Cory Cripe explains.
Once you understand what we are trying to achieve through our core training movements, then when you see the progressions (not just variations) that DVRT UK master Greg Perlaki gives you see how that is reinforced. Simple things like bending the arms, breaking that vertical plane with the thigh, and more are ways we LOSE those connections and we may have a tough exercise but not a better one.
The same goes for the plank. We don’t want to just hang out in our planks, we want to create tension into the ground through our forearms and balls of feet to connect everything from head to toe! That means no more. “squeezing the glutes”, no just hanging out in the plank for hour after hour. The plank has to be realized to be a specific skill that we build from the ground to dynamic actions.
Each one of these DVRT “planks’ above teach us something about keeping the connections of our core training under different environments. It isn’t about doing different types of planks, but focusing on specific goals. For example, the first plank with the suspension trainer I am driving DOWN into the straps while pulling the Ultimate Sandbag apart. This is a great way to improve shoulder mobility and teach people how to press with the body and NOT just their shoulders.
The whole goal is to take core training into more complex environments where we are forcing our body to keep its posture while moving. Keeping those kinetic chain connections allow us to build strength, but not only that, it allows us to solve so many issues at once. Everything from knees, low backs, and shoulders can often be traced back to people not understanding what core training is really about and how to teach their body true stability.
One of the father’s of functional training, physical therapist Gary Gray sums it up well.
This doesn’t mean just start doing “stuff” but being mindful of all that we have talked about as DVRT Coach Robin Paget shows. It isn’t about just doing a core training exercise that is difficult or going to “bust your gut”. It is thinking about how we are holding and moving the Ultimate Sandbag to make the connection in the body better so we develop the true stability we are all wanting to accomplish. Core training isn’t a fancy word for abs, it can and is a game changer to your training!
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