Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Again...Strength always starts at the Core!

Another great TT workout today..but I wanted to give my thoughts about strength.

As a starter in this exercise journey, I always thought strength always meant huge defined muscles...something you would see in movies like the Terminator or a few Wrestlers on TV. I’ve realized that just aint it. Strength is NOT defined by how huge your muscles are overall or how defined your biceps look in a camera shoot.

I’m realizing more and more that strength starts with the core...strength always and should start with the core. Poor core, strength ultimately suffers...and so does unwanted injury as well. And strength doesn't always apply with a visual 6 pack either (I say this because power lifters don't sport nice cores but strong just the same. But a nice set of abs really shows a good sense of how strong your core is for sure).

Saw a very, very inspiring, motivational youtube video of a friend doing dips and chin ups yesterday. Nothing cute about it all...and I'm not being biased because she's a girl but she just cranked them out like a walk in the park. Literally. She lost a lot of weight and developed an awesome physique with some great Turbulence Training programs but to see her doing routines like that are insanely impressive. True test of strength with the chin ups and dips for sure. But I also noticed is she would never neglect her core exercises on a routine basis...and she only shows how effective core training is important in any exercise program.

Leave the core out of the equation...that spells disaster!

Simply look at gymnasts and how strong and lean they are yet can go for hours and hours at a time with their training. Boxers and MMA fighters are another perfect example. They just are far more superior in strength than the Jay Cutlers of the world. That’s for sure!

In the sport of volleyball....being able to jump high and swing at a ball through blockers is strength, too. But they too have strong cores as well.

Swimmers...all they do is swim...but they have awesome lats and shoulder muscles and a very thin waist and an awesome core (Dara Torres anyone?)....but their strength is functional and not to look like the next cover model for Muscle and Fitness magazines..I dare to put any of those guys in the mags in a pool and swim a few laps like swimmers do. Can all that muscle keep these guys afloat to begin with???

Again...volleyball players don’t have the best physiques but have incredible leaping ability and upper and lower body strength and awesome coordination. To change lateral and forward movements indicates a strong core too. Too be able to swing the hands back for a full volleyball spike - that’s strength! I see a lot of beach players and indoor players not yoked up at all but definitely fast, mobile and strong.

Training like an athlete trains is probably the best way to approach exercise. Functional strength...again the ability to improve on a swing in volleyball, jump to make a dunk, improve on a batswing for home runs...those are measurable acts of strength for sure. But you got to develop the core first and foremost. Have to develop the core!!! Doesn’t mean a 6 pack but routinely doing core specific workouts in training is definitely a must.

Here’s a guy I admire as well. Boxer, Conditioning trainer - Ross Enamait. He can deadlift almost 3x his weight Im assuming here. But the thing is: he never deadlifts!!! Again..this exercise works every aspect of your body when done right and he just crushed this routine. Core definitely plays a huge part here and boxers have great cores or they would be heading to the emergency room with a ruptured spleen.

Only look at this guy’s deadlift and do the guesswork when I say strength is not defined by big muscles:

Here’s the video (nice background music by the way!):


Anonymous said...

Andy -

You have really hit the nail on the head with this post. Core is vitally important and is more than just crunches and sit ups.

Im sure you have seen use of the Ab wheel by Ross? Work up to standing versions of that and your core will be very strong.

Also, was very good seeing the Ross Deadlift video again. Not seen that in ages. Magnificant.

Good post,

Sean Ryan

STBF said...

When I got back into really lifting (starting back in May 08 w/TT Training), I learned that the core is key to not only lifting and strength, but also daily tasks. I don't ever want to be that guy. You know him. The guy who pulled a muscle in his back because he bent down to pick up his socks. Personally, my core is stronger than ever and at 42, so am I.

Nice post

Anna said...

Hey Andy, great post here! I'm definitely with you on the core training - it is a must! Like the pictures too. Very inspiring!