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Why Going MAX IS Functional Fitness

power training

If there is an exercise in our DVRT system that really gets the crowds intrigued it is our MAX drills. Most people think our MAX (multiple axis) drills are only related to the MAX lunge that so many people have seen.

functional fitness

What makes our MAX progressions such a strong representation of what functional fitness is suppose to become? Let me first say that all of our MAX drills ARE more advanced progressions of foundational movement. That doesn’t mean they aren’t accessible though! Drills like our half kneeling arc presses are examples of exercises that help us prepare for the demands of the MAX progressions.

functional fitness

What makes the MAX anything in DVRT particular strong is the fact we are matching how the body functions in life with what we do in the gym. How do I mean? If we look at what legendary strength coach Mike Boyle and renowned physical therapist, Gray Cook taught us in the joint by joint approach is that we want areas of the body like the lumbar spine to be stable as the thoracic spine and such areas show more mobility and movement.

Why Going MAX IS Functional Fitness

In most functional fitness programs this is sorta known, but rarely applied to progressively more sophisticated strength training. What tends to actually “scare” people when they first see any MAX drill is that they assume the movement is coming from the low back, not the upper back. Since such movements are so unfamiliar from most fitness pros and lifts, we understand the confusion, but that also shows you where so much of the misunderstanding of this sort of functional fitness stems from.

Most people don’t understand we should be able to keep our bottom stable as we have some purposeful movement in the upper half of our body. How we keep tension and the timing of the movements are key though. 

This has a HUGE correlation in how we move in life and the point of functional fitness is to create exercises to improve how we function in life not replicate what we do. For example, when we walk or run in life we create more rotation in the thoracic area of our body than we do in our lumbar spine. We need to because some rotation allows us to be more efficient in our movements (that’s why our opposite arms and legs work together during locomotion).

Is that where we start training these qualities though? No! That is because we have to teach people how to RESIST unwanted movement before we go into more complex functional fitness. While the body does allow for some rotation in walking and running, it spends A LOT of energy into resisting too much rotation that causes problems in our movement. How do we start using these foundations of resisting movement?

DVRT drills like these start to teach us how to be stable from the ground up and resist the forces trying to pull our body out of alignment. 

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We teach a lot of foundational core exercises because if we don’t have a strong foundation it is hard to teach where we should really be going in our training. Meaning that when most people approach core training they still think about working their abs. Of course the abdominals are part of what we want to achieve, but really we want to have the 35 muscles of our core work synergistically. That leads us to higher forms of core workouts, especially as experts like Dr. Stuart McGill point to, more reflexive forms of training. _____________________ ➡️ Having high tension isn’t how we move in life, but is important in learning how to create foundational stability. Using these 3 #DVRT movements we are forced to quickly react to the movement of the Ultimate #Sandbag and the pull of the @perform_better band in our lateral strength. Lunges are a great way to teach this reactive strength because the action of the lunge provides us with the challenge of producing and resisting forces acting on the body. _____________________ ➡️ Using our Arc Press is the hardest version of these movements as it amplifies both anti-extension and anti-lateral motion. Reacting to both the lunge and the Arc Press reinforces the connection of our hands to our core, all the way to our feet. So, we don’t just hold the Ultimate Sandbag, we try to “break” it apart. _____________________ ➡️ We don’t have to change load, using different load position can help us teach these strategies in more stable environments. Our front loaded MAX lunge allows us to create tension against the weight in a dynamic #plank where we get a small amount of thoracic rotation while keeping stability below. The lateral band tension makes us create more force and core tension as we come up from the bottom position. ______________________ ➡️Our Press Outs are always a great starting point because the Press Out is basically creating the “brace” we want to achieve in our planks. Using these strategies in more dynamic environments teach our body not just HOW to brace, but WHEN to brace. This better Pallof Press allows both sides to get engaged and helps us connect our shoulders to our hips which is how our body works!

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Scroll through these 3 progressions and you will see how we take these concepts in purposeful variety. 

The key with the MAX anything is NOT to lose tension in the weight we are holding. Whether that is the in the front load position where we are “pulling apart the USB” or when we grab the handles and we are “ripping the handles apart”. This needs to be maintained while we go into the movement to maintain the proper plank that is foundational to our functional fitness.

You see how the timing of the movement of the thoracic spine needs to be met with the movement of the lower body. It isn’t “move then turn”, but doing them at the same time. 

This goes to progressing to more power and complex movements as well. You can’t move forward till you have taken the time to gain proficiency in the foundations. That doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of options to build strength in this pattern that will help your functional fitness. 

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It is funny that even when people do focus on muscles they tend to overlook how the muscles are designed to function. A great example is the #glutes and how they perform in life. Our glutes are designed to produce and resist motion as we make complex movements seem seamless. That is why these two #DVRT movements that @cmcripe demonstrates are the ways we should think about #gluteworkout programs. —————- 💪🏻 Lateral motion is so important because several of the glute muscles are designed to keep our hips stable as we move in different directions without caving to cause knee and low back issues. Creating tension against the Ultimate #Sandbag allows us to tap into the connection of the lats and core to allow the glutes to work better! ———— 💪🏻 Locomotion is what our glutes are most specifically designed to help perform. Being able to move back and forth with fluidity is key! These MAX #deadlifts Cory shows not only accomplishes that goal but teaches the reciprocal motion of the upper and lower body as pulling the handles apart helps the core resist the rotation of the weight. These types of #functionaltraining drills helps our body perform as well as it looks!

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Cory Cripe shows a very powerful and challenging way to build progression to more high powered MAX variations by working on how to resist unwanted movement as he moves! Great way to implement true functional fitness concepts. 

What you see is that the real power of functional fitness starts with some understanding of how our body functions! Once we do, these exercises aren’t scary, they are exciting. However, the responsibility comes back to us to spend time properly coaching and building those foundations for success. Check out how coach at Fitness Lying Down, Megan Berner coaches some of the powerful points of the MAX Lunge!

Want to find out more about how we coach DVRT to make the impact that really makes a difference? Check out our upcoming DVRT certifications HERE and this VERY special one time workshop HERE that will forever how you see training and resiliency!