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Strengthen Your Core, And Function as One Complete Unit

Nov 27, 2007
Emphasizing core strength training and use high tension techniques to function as one complete unit will allow you to perform better.

Training your body to function as a complete unit by emphasizing core strength training and using high tension techniques will bring about the greatest performance improvement.

Performance improvement starts at the core... not at the extremities.

The center of power and strength is found in the core... and by the very nature of the human body, all movement involves the musculature of the core.

Therefore, by emphasizing core strength training you will improve performance over a wide spectrum of physical activities.

Imagine your body as three links in a chain... the upper body, the core and the lower body.

It is the core that coordinates all the movements of the upper and lower body.

When I talk about the core, I am talking about the entire trunk of the body... not just the abdominal muscles.

When I talk about strength, I am talking about the entire spectrum of strength... not just strength endurance exemplified by high repetition core exercises.

So what is proper core strength training?

Well, the first thing you do is... just say "no" to machines!

The excessive use of machines eliminates the adaptive stress for the stabilizer muscles in the body.

The stabilizer muscles are the muscles that give stability to the core and permit the other parts of the body, usually the extremities, to exert force.

Just think of it... performing exercises while strapped into a machine does little to prepare you for movement patterns in the real world.

How many times in the real world will you be asked to exert force while seated and strapped into place?

I dare say not very often.

The over reliance of resistance training on machines will rob the stabilizer muscles of the stress needed to improve in conjunction with the other muscles being trained.

The result... when you try to exert force in the real world with the extremities your core will be the weak link in the chain.

The inability of the core muscles to support the force trying to be exerted by the extremities will cause the body to disallow the movement.

Ultimately, the improvements in strength that are gained on machines will not translate into performance improvements that you can use in the real world... and over use of machines will eventually sabotage your performance.

This shows just how important the core muscles are to over all performance improvement... and the importance of core strength training.

Core strength training must use a variety of exercises, stresses and resistance... not just high repetition abdominal exercises.

The most important thing you can do for the core muscles is incorporate them into as many of your exercises as possible... by training the body to function as one complete unit.

You should look at every exercise you do as core strength training!

So, how do you do that?

Use High Tension Techniques!

Martial artists have know for centuries that incorporating the whole body into every movement by using high tension produces the most force.

When performing any exercise, you should incorporate as many muscles as possible into the movement to realize you potential strength and power.

There are various methods for generating high tension... but the most effective method is to use all the methods at the same time.

The most common methods are...

Tightening your Fists
When you perform an exercise, squeeze your fist as much as possible... if your hands are occupied you must tighten your grip as much as possible.

Tightening your Core Muscles
When you perform an exercise, squeeze you core muscles as much as possible.

This does not mean sucking in your stomach...but rather tightening the stomach muscles while keeping the stomach flat.

To create more tension... exhale with force in a controlled manner while contracting the core muscles.

Tightening your Butt Muscles
When perform an exercise, squeeze your butt muscles as much as possible.

Incorporating the butt muscles into your exercise will add a large muscle group to the movement and create a solid and steady base to perform the movement.

As stated above... to get the most benefit out of using high tension techniques you should try to do all three techniques at the same time.

The point is this... your body must function as one complete unit, and the core is the part of the body that allows the rest of the body to perform.

Have you ever wondered why Old-Time Strongmen had such well developed core muscles in an age before crunches, ab machines and magic potions?

What was there core strength training secrets?

Well, a healthy lifestyle and eating habits had a lot to do with it... But their core strength training came mostly from incorporating their core muscles into all physical exercise.

That's right... no abdominal isolation and "feel the burn" for those guys.

Incorporating core strength training into all your physical training and varying stress, intensity and methods will develop a solid, functional core that will solidify your body as one complete unit and improve performance in a wide variety of physical activities.
About the Author
Coach Lomax is a strength, conditioning and fitness coach dedicated to building better humans for sport, work and life. Learn more at Optimum Physical Training or take his FREE Tabata Calisthenics Workout Mini Course.
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