As popular as the idea of functional training is, most still fail to make their training truly “functional”. Why? Because they still fail to include proper development of all 7 movement patterns (squat, hip hinge, lunge, push, pull, rotation, and locomotion). Even with all the posts I’ve made on the topic, the two movement patterns that people still struggle with understanding their full capacity is rotational training and locomotion. Since there are concepts of rotational training that feed into locomotion, I thought I would start there!
Few ever look at their workouts and think “hey, where is my rotational training going to go?” They might throw in an arbitrary medicine ball throw or cable chop, but even then they miss the important concepts of rotational training. Why is it important though? Your client may have never said, “could you really help improve my rotational training?” However, the reality is they have just not in those terms.
Rotational movements are foundational to how our body is built. When we want to punch, kick, throw, and pretty much a great majority of real-world movements, we create rotation. It is the use of rotation that makes our body move more efficiently and develop better real-world strength. Rotational training includes SO many muscles it makes itself perfect for a variety of fitness goals from fat loss, muscle gain, and performance enhancement. Odd that so many few people really put effort into systemizing their rotational training right?
When we perform rotation correctly we see the need for great hip mobility and core stability. We learn how to develop force from the ground ALL the way up to our upper body. That is why the chains of our body are designed the way they are, in order to use the whole body to create efficient movement and strength. Unfortunately, most misunderstand rotation as I explain below.
Understanding the movements needed to occur in rotational training then allows us to create better progressions and teaching points as Strength Coach Martin Adame explains.
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Often times we make the mistake of thinking that rotation happens through the lower back. In reality the lower back wasn’t designed to rotate, it was made to stabilize. —— The body is broken down into different segments; some have the job to stabilize (e.g., the lower back) and others have the ability to be mobile like the hips. —— Rotation starts at the feet and continues to the hip. Understanding this is key in performing rotation properly and safely. Once this skill is mastered, then application of rotational movements during training can begin. —— This post contains one movement to help understand this complex topic and begin training. The plan is to provide more advanced rotational movements soon! —— First we must master the basics in order to proceed safely. ENJOY! —— Shoutout to my barber @tweetytrimz keeps my hair looking great!
What these drills allow for is us to pattern the feet correctly in rotation while also teaching how to keep core stability. In doing so we not only build a strong foundation for rotational training, but this stability from the core allows us to build better hip mobility which is essential not only for rotation but overall low back health and functional strength. However, sometimes more feedback is required and DVRT Master, Cory Cripe breaks down how we can change the position of the Ultimate Sandbag as well as use our Ultimate Core Strap (you can check out the strap HERE) to help give more feedback and layer to our progressions.
Where does rotational training go in your workout? It depends, in upcoming posts you will see that we can combine rotational training with pressing, pulling, and hinging. We can also make rotational training more dynamic and sophisticated where we rely on smarter functional fitness qualities. For these concepts we shared today these movements can be part of your warm-up, they can come near the beginning of your workout and help mobilize the hips and give a great “wake up” call to your core.
How many reps? If you are totally new to this then I would say 6-8 repetitions per side really going slowly with the Ultimate Sandbag being held close to the body and a bit more reps (like 10-15 per side) when you are doing the rotational press outs because you will use more elastic energy with the movements. You can also simply go for time (anywhere from 30-60 seconds) is typically our recommendation.
We will build off these rotational training concepts in the future, but hopefully, you see why it is so important and how we can start building success fast!