Monday, June 13, 2011

The "Core" Is Contextual

A big issue in today's fitness
training is the idea of training your "core." Your "core" is an enigma. You can't control a specific muscle or its precise activation patterns. Muscle activation patterns are a more complex, highly-regulated neural function. The only thing you can try to control are joint movements, and that comes with practice over time.

I am so tired of seeing fitness book after fitness book talk about "core" exercise because you are on the floor or on an unstable surface device. They may be hard to do or you may feel your torso muscles fatigue, but that is very specific to the task you are performing. Performing a plank exercise will not carry over necessarily improve your front squat or pull-up. Some torso, single-leg, or shoulder stability exercises may be a helpful to start with to "learn" how to stabilize or supplement, but you need to develop joint (and spine) stability in the specific pattern you are trying to improve.

Your "core" stability will improve as you execute specific movement patterns properly. You cannot train your "core" in isolation; it is in context of a specific posture or movement.

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