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Why These Core & Glute Exercises Are So Important!

sandbag training

The difference in bodybuilding and functional fitness is pretty astounding. It isn’t just the fact that one thinks of the body in isolation (bodybuilding) and the other looks at integration (functional fitness). Rather, it is the outcomes that we do and don’t achieve because of these philosophies in training. A great example is examining why these unique DVRT core and glute exercises are so important for so many different aspects of performance, injury resilience, and looking our best.

You see, most people work REALLY hard to isolate muscles in their core and glute exercises. The thought is that they can train these muscles individually and get them stronger this way and also to get them to work better. Unfortunately, this only shows a big misunderstanding of how these muscles are designed to work in real life. When you look at both. muscles of the core and glutes you notice a few essential concepts….

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glute exercises

In the images above you see that neither the core or glutes are a singular muscle. Not only are they not just one muscle, you can see how closely interconnected all the muscles of these groups are to one another and how absolutely futile it would be to try to train any one in an individual role. It also speaks to the fact that their strength and performance is based upon their ability to work effectively with one another, not how any one core or gluteal muscle actually works.

This isn’t the full anatomy of either as there are tons of muscles that attach really close to these groups and impact how they function. So, can we stop trying to say “this or that” exercise is for any one core or gluteal muscle? Rather, let’s look to see how to get them to work as they are designed as much as possible.

You can also notice that both groups are largely fan shaped muscles, this means they both produce and resist force. Laying on the ground and hip thrusting and just doing hour long planks are going to fall short in the term of good core and glute exercises. Our body is meant to work in 3 planes of motion and that is why these groups of muscles are designed in such a manner.

workouts

It is this reason that even saying “just squat” or “just deadlift” is very incomplete. Sure, these are great starts to better core and glute exercises but they also come limited. How so? A great article from “Athletic Therapy Today” explains,

“Lack of muscle activation in any plane can result in movement between two adjacent vertebrae, which may result in overloading of static stabilizers and low back pain (LBP). Because the combination of instability of a spine segment and poor endurance of the trunk musculature is a significant contributor to LBP, fatigue resistance in all planes of motion is essential.”

This also coincides with spine expert, Dr. Stuart McGill explaining why frontal plane hip and core strength is so essential in both performance and injury resilience…

“Consider a 340 pound NFL lineman, who is strength trained in the weight room on Olympic lifts and power cleans. His coaches believe he is well trained. Yet the athlete has back pain that limits training. Measuring his cutting speed – the ability to take 5 fast strides forward, plant a foot and cut to the right reveals his great weakness and strength imbalance. The pelvis drops on the swing leg side and the spine bends laterally. He reports a twinge of pain. All of his strength training has been performed with two legs on the ground. All of the pulls, lifts and presses never trained the core in 3‐dimensions. The weak link is limiting his performance and causing stress and pain. Addressing this with loaded carrying exercises produced more lateral spine stiffness in his core. His pelvis and spine produce appropriate proximal stiffness (proximal to the hip joint) so that more velocity of all of the muscles that cross the hip joint go to the distal side of the joint resulting in faster leg speed. Further, the spine does not bend, the stress concentration at the joint is eliminated and the pain is gone. This example demonstrates that the hip muscles were limited by a weaker lateral core. Specifically, the gluteal muscles on the stance leg were confined by the lateral core muscles on the swing leg side of the body – in this case the lateral obliques and quadratus lumborum. Good training always addresses the elements that assist and potentiate one another throughout the body linkage. The core is home base.”

That is why some of the best core and glute exercises focus on lateral stability. We have discussed a lot of this with side plank progressions, half kneeling drills (especially half kneeling arc presses), but we can also move through the frontal plane to train a lot of these qualities at a higher level of core and glute exercises.

 

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Coach Cari Satre shows some of the common faults in performing lateral deadlifts that are one of our favorite core and glute exercises. However, most people don’t laterally shift enough to get the benefit to their glutes and added mobility/stability training. 

 

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One of the reasons we focus heavily on lunges is due to their nature to be powerful core and glute exercises. As we move in one direction we have to resist forces acting in other directions. When we add our MAX progressions to a movement we actually amplify the role the core and glutes play by having to work to resist unwanted movement. 

 

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When we add power and move movement to these DVRT drills they become even more effective core and glute exercises as Cari shows. 

There are so many progressions we show in DVRT that help us lead to people training better and getting superior results whether they are wanting to be stronger, perform better, be healthier, or look better. It isn’t that the Ultimate Sandbag is magic (although it can seem that way), but rather how we use the tool to train these qualities that address how the body is designed to actually function.

 

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You can see how we can put these ideas into powerful workout ideas as Cari shows below so we can build better results because we work on all the qualities of fitness at once! Don’t miss our Ultimate Sandbag BOGO sale, invest in one Ultimate Sandbag and get another of equal or less price 50% off with code “bogo” HERE

 

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