I grew up the middle of three boys, each of us about three years apart. As anyone that has siblings knows, when you get something cool, the others want it! I especially remember when we were REALLY young I loved Transformers. It was a special occasion to get a new robot and my parents not being stupid would get my younger brother and I both one (my older brother was too cool for them then). No matter how my parents tried to make sure we all had stuff we wanted, inevitably, my younger brother always wanted my Transformer. He would play with his for a few days and get bored and eye mine more and more. We would have some classic battles over such a silly thing as kids. In many ways though I feel like this story represents fitness pretty accurately. That’s why I hate when people call their training tools toys, if we look at them that way inevitably we get bored and move onto something else.
On one end it isn’t such a big deal right? Who cares if we keep getting more equipment? Well, for one, it is a very expensive philosophy to follow. Without having meaning for the tools we use we end up chasing results through buying more and more stuff. The problem is we never actually address the real issue which is appreciating how the tools we use can get us closer to our fitness goals. Trust me, if would make our lives way easier if we didn’t care about how you used the Ultimate Sandbag and just told people to do whatever. That isn’t why we created it though and that isn’t what DVRT is about. We want to show people how if they understand both the body and tools they can actually achieve some pretty amazing results. This is especially true when it comes to core exercises.
Sure, when a lot of people hear about core exercises they roll their eyes. “Why can’t we just call it ab training?!” some ask. Mostly because when we are talking about real core exercises we are talking about so much more than the abs, we are talking about all the ways the body connects through various chains to create stability, mobility, strength, and fluid movement.
Sadly, most fitness professionals & strength coaches don’t really know how the body is connected and how we move!
I’m not going to lie, to go down a deep path here is a pretty intensive educational program. However, we can take away simple concepts that make all the difference in how we train and the results we get from them. One of the first things we can do to change how we train the body and think of our core exercises differently is to realize that our body is designed first and foremost for locomotion. I know, what a let down right?! Whoever goes to the gym to set a personal record on their walking?!
As you can imagine, our body wasn’t designed with the modern gym in mind. In fact, if we look at just even 100 years ago, what we thought about physical fitness was quite different. Unfortunately, we were probably closer to what the body wants to do back then than we are today.
Wonder if these gyms were thinking of 30 day get lean programs;)
I am not foolish to think that we are going to go back to such gyms. Rather, pointing out how we think about fitness has been largely shaped by machine based training and bodybuilding only from about the 1960’s. While you would tend to believe that this means we are evolving in our knowledge of the body, in many ways it made us go the complete opposite! So, what does old time gyms and locomotion have to do with our core exercises?
Well, first that we have to think of how we use the core starts with the areas of our body that force enters our body. That would be our hands and feet! Yes, we have talked so much about hands and feet I think some of our DVRT followers think we have a foot fetish. We kinda do in the sense that JUST teaching people how to use their hands and feet during their core exercises dramatically changes the results and benefits they get from these movements. Since over half of our bones are in our hands and feet and these are the points in which we mostly become in contact with the outside world, they are probably pretty important. This is why we place such an emphasis on pulling apart or ripping apart the Ultimate Sandbag on many of our exercises. We are never casual with how we use the Ultimate Sandbag.
We constantly coach “pulling apart” and “grabbing the ground ” to actually connect the core.
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One of the most common errors people make in helping people learn to use their bodies smarter. When people see knees caving in, they tend to give feedback around the knee, that doesn’t work as well as people think because they don’t understand WHY this is happening. _______________ ????The knee is kinda a “dumb” joint. It moves mostly forward and backwards meaning the control comes from the #glutes , but first and foremost the feet! Heck, even the glutes and core are controlled by what happens with the feet first! Force enters the body from the ground up and creates a chain reaction. That is why using an @perform_better super band under the foot, not the knee, helps us have better control over the movement of the knee. These two Ultimate #Sandbag lunges show the difference. Yes, they are just different levels of the same lunge, but what is happening at the knee, feet, and hips are the most important part! This is why understanding HOW the body moves allows us to create better results!
Jessica shows that most people miss where to cue the knees. That the feet control everything from the ground up!
You would be surprised how powerful just THAT connection is in changing how you perform and feel so many exercises. There are so many shoulders, low backs, and knees we have helped just with that! What else can we do? Another huge aspect to of core exercises to realize is that our body works in opposites. You notice when we walk we swing our opposite arm and leg to coordinate the movement. There is a specific reason for that and it is to help stabilize our body during an unstable motion like walking. How does that impact our core exercises? One of the BEST ways to train the core to work at its highest level is with what are called lifts/chops. These diagonal movements come from the famous physical therapy system of PNF and are designed to train the muscles as they are suppose to work together, but also help our nervous system which controls all movement!
If we just focus on these two concepts we will see our core exercises go to being boring or the novel, to being purposeful, effective, and having so many layers. In DVRT we teach that the key in being successful is progression. We work from the stable ground and try to take these same concepts to standing and more dynamic environments. The video below shows how we do JUST that. See if you can track how we keep tension in the hands and feet as well as use the diagonal patterns to develop core exercises that make a REAL difference!
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