Jessica Bento, Physical Therapist (Co-creator of DVRT Restoration, Shoulder, & Pelvic Control Course)
It is Thanksgiving and it may for some feel like a good time to take a break from talking about training. I get it and I hope you are taking that break if you need. Exercise should be something that compliments our lives, not overruns it! For me, I always like getting people excited to train and I think by gaining a great understanding of our bodies it actually empowers us to want to move and exercise. Let’s face it, most people think exercise has to be brutal, painful, and is punishment and I always think that is tragic. So, what better way to share this idea than talking about two areas of the body that people love and are actually very much interconnected. Glutes and core training.
The title of this blog post may seem very bold as who am I to say what is right? My goal isn’t to police what people do in their fitness programs, but to inform them as what people THINK they are doing and what they are actually doing can often be two different things. Discussing glutes and core training I think are great examples of that.
Knowing that our body works at its best when the glutes and core are working together is a key fact in building better exercises.
So, what do I mean by saying the “right’ way to train the glutes and core? As a therapist, former athlete, and woman in her 40’s I think that means many things. First and foremost I want to take the limited time I have to train to have the BIGGEST impact in my workouts. How do we ensure we do so? A great start is to understand how these muscles actually are designed to work as that will lead us down the path of getting the best results.
Recently Josh and I got a cable system for our gym, in building it we had a decision to make. We could use the tools that came with the equipment or we could have gone to Home Depot, bought a bunch of different tools and tried to build it from what a bunch of stuff we got. It would make sense to start with building the cable system with the tools that were specifically designed to construct this piece. That would make senses right, however, when it comes to our own bodies we rarely use the same logic.
Dwight THINKS he is way more helpful than he really is!
The glutes and core are actually complex muscle groups. Their design is not up and down like more simple muscles like your quads and biceps, they are diagonal in nature. That means they are doing MANY things at once. If you actually look up the functional anatomy of the glutes and core you will find that the answer of what these muscles do depends on a lot of factors like your positioning, what types of loads you are using, directions you are moving, etc.
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Glutes are important for building real world strength, better power, can help low back pain, and makes us look our best. You think with all those benefits we would have greater appreciation for understanding how the #glutes work in life and our everyday movement. We can’t discuss the glutes without understanding two important factors….. 💪 Our feet actually cause a chain reaction and largely dictate how our glutes work. That means “squeezing” the glutes isn’t really a solution to building stronger glutes. Teaching how to create force into the ground and working from different positions forces our feet to create strength and tap into the strength of our glues that really makes a difference. 💪 Then there is the almost ALWAYS overlooked fact that the glutes work part of a chain. We already discussed one part with the feet up to the pelvis. The other is the Posterior Oblique System (POS) which is the glutes working with the lats through our thoracolumbar fascia. That is why engaging the lats is so important when we do hip hinge movements like #deadlifts , kettlebell swings, and just about everything. 💪 That is why when you understand how the glutes work you see how smart the movements that #DVRT certified coach @linamidla uses. Using different positions, directions, and using the Ultimate #Sandbag to engage the lats and core makes these not just rowing, pressing, lunging, or squatting movements, but ways to teach the body to work as one. In other words, to have our body get strong because our body is designed to work as one piece not a bunch of individual parts. This is the power of what true #functionalfitness is all about!
DVRT Coach Lina Midla shows this very fact from these different DVRT drills that all emphasize the connection of the glutes and core from both the foot at the ground and the pulling apart the handles of the Ultimate Sandbag. The variety of positions and angles amplify the fact that in DVRT we see how muscles work in real life.
Sometimes this type of information turns people off. It gets to be too much and people just want to “workout”. I get it, but it doesn’t take a lot to get a whole lot more from your training of the glutes and core. Let’s look at some examples……
The therapist in me never understood why exercises like the hip bridge (sorry still calling it a hip bridge because that is what is happening) become a super strength exercise. I would never call ANY exercise that had us lying down an exercise that I want to load up on, rather, being on the ground is a very stable environment. It allows me to identify early movement dysfunction and issues in connecting the chains of the body in less complex environments.
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Sound on for this one ☝️. Most people call hip Bridges glute Bridges because they unfortunately think this exercise is designed to work the glutes in isolation. However this never happens in life and the #hipbridge is actually designed to tie in the chain of feet 🦶🏻 , hamstrings, #glutes, #core, and lats. Find out how we can do this popular exercise smarter 👍🏻
In DVRT, our idea of training the glutes and core is to connect them because that is how they function in life. While you can isolate these muscles, why would you? They are designed to work together so much that it is going against how our bodies would to prefer to work in doing so.
As Alwyn Cosgrove shared, bodybuilders of 100 years ago believed way more in functional training than many do today!
How do we “connect” though? We start by how we use tools like the Ultimate Sandbag, kettlebells, and other tools to create tension. Our starting point is always the Ultimate Sandbag because of how we can create the tension to connect the core from the top down (the connection of the grip, lats, core, and glutes is something we have discussed a lot here). We can add increase the demands of these connections through our different patterning the hip bridge and how we use the load.
Using other tools like kettlebells come into play later, because they offer us less of an ability to use that tension. That can be a good thing in that we don’t want to become reliant on tension, we want to ideally become more reflexive.
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Hip bridges are nothing new, but the more we understand about the body, the more we see how we should use the hip bridge to build not only better looking, but better functioning #glutes . A great example is how I use #kettlebells to help bridge what we do in #DVRT to bring about better connections and of course results! ….. Using #kettlebells allows me to integrate the grip and lats to connect to my core better. Holding them in the neutral position and gripping tightly makes this important connection of what is known as the posterior oblique sling which you see in the diagram. The glutes work WITH our core and lats to create spinal stability. Without connecting this essential chain, we get a whole different impact to our #gluteworkouts . Using the block underneath my heel allows me to build progression to true single glute work. Building those small layers are key to building success! …… Being able to go into our march and then alternating pressing we can bring in the cross pattern nature that our nervous system prefers. You know, like when we are walking and our opposite arm and leg swing to help us move seamlessly, but also to give our movement strength and stability. Training the glutes and core to produce and resist force at the same time is how these muscles are designed to function. Isn’t that what we are REALLY trying to achieve with #functionalfitness programs?!
We don’t want to live on the ground because these muscles and our entire body is meant to move in three planes of motion. While it doesn’t sound “sexy” our bodies were made to navigate the complexity of gravity. That is why when you see us in DVRT use a drill like a deadlift for building better glutes and core strength, we have many options available to use to make that strength training more sophisticated as DVRT Master, Cory Cripe demonstrates.
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Think that familiar exercises like #deadlifts train the glutes to the highest degree? Our #glutes are what are known as triplanar muscles. Meaning that they work best when they must produce and resist force at the same time. That’s is why these DVRT deadlifts that @corymcripe show how understanding how our body functions gives us smarter exercises! ….. Using the Ultimate #Sandbag allows us to challenge stability but also make better connections to our core whether we are trying to “break” the Ultimate Sandbag in our arms or pull the handles apart. The fact we can now lift weights into so many different positions and angles gives us greater power of our #strengthtraining
Once you understand how our body is designed to work, you see that we often miss opportunities to build better success and results because we underestimate the value of many drills. A great example is how lunging is rarely perceived with the same benefits as squats or deadlifts due to the lighter loads used. However, the instability and the directional component of lunging makes it a powerhouse exercise that we could easily argue delivers MORE value to many people and their programs.
There probably is no better example than our MAX Lunges. These movements refer to our thoracic spine creating some movement while our core and glutes work to keep stability in the lumbar spine, hips, and lower body. Doing so really taps into ALL aspects of the glutes and core like pretty much no other exercise can. This is probably why they are so popular and become a staple to many strength and conditioning programs like renown coach Robert Dos Remedios.
The key though is to know how to progress these movements. As we get to more sophisticated forms of training, knowing where to begin and how to move forward is key. That is why this series that I present gives you that type of guidance of how not to have more exercises, but better ways to keeping making progress in your training.
Building better glutes and core is no different than building a great overall body that functions as good as it looks! If you want to know more I hope you will check out our DVRT online courses HERE or if you ready to see the difference that DVRT has made the past 15 years in the fitness industry, you will invest in our Ultimate Sandbags HERE. Both our education and Ultimate Sandbags are 35% for this week only with code “holiday35”
I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday, but most of all that you find how to make health and wellness big a part of your life!
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Our MAX (multiple axis) movements are some of the most popular of our #DVRT system. Maybe because they look so unique, hopefully because they work so well for people. The most important part of doing these movements is understanding the intent behind them. If you don’t know the why, then not only do these become just “another” set of exercises, but you won’t get the results from them. That is because people miss the techniques that makes them so impactful to #functionalfitness programs. 💪 The whole idea of these MAX DVRT drills is that we are keeping the lumbar spine, hips, and lower body stable as we have some SLIGHT movement of the thoracic spine. Since many life and sporting movements requires mobility at the thoracic spine while stability at the lumbar spine and lower body, it makes sense we would progress our #strengthtraining in this manner. 💪 The fact our body likes to work in diagonals also helps the value of these exercises. However, how we build progression is key. While people are more familiar with the swinging of the Ultimate #Sandbag during our MAX drills, we actually start the series in the front loaded position. That is because we want to create tension in trying to “break” the Ultimate Sandbag apart and use our #plank to teach our body how to resist unwanted movement. We can do these through a series of progressions as you see as learning how to resist movement is one of the toughest, but most beneficial parts of such training. 💪 When we do move the more hip loaded position, we take advantage of the type of grip we can create by “pulling apart” the handles to give us that stability as we move to more reactive strength. Not relying on tension is a higher level of strength and that eventually takes us to our suitcase MAX series where we use the grip of the Ultimate Sandbag and the core tension of the #kettlebell to give us some stability as we move to higher levels of strength. 💪 The point is to see how everything has building blocks, but it all comes back to purpose and intent. When we have the why’s we give so much more power to our #workouts but we the knowledge behind the movements give us so much more power💪🏻