To Core or Not to Core … That is the Question
by Bruce Hymanson, PT, Creator of Bodyblade
Today, it seems like every exercise device known to man claims they are “the perfect core training device.” Health clubs boast about their core training programs and the personal trainers who know how to exercise the core. Many of us know the word “core,” but what does it really mean? Why do we need to train the core muscles, and how do we go about it?
Everything from the neck to the pelvic floor—that’s the core. I have been saying this since 1977 when as a practicing physical therapist at Northridge Hospital, I taught core training (or truck training) to physical therapy students at USC, UCLA and CSUN. I instilled in them the simple principle that functional training began deep in the center of the body and progressed out to the extremities.
It is important to consider creating dynamic stability to the deep muscle in the spine before expecting the shoulder and pelvic girdles to accurately move. Moreover, we need to be connected from within the body, joint to joint before we can be connected as a functional unit to the planet we relate to.
There are multiple layers of muscle in the spine. Some connect between the vertebral segments along the entire length of the spine responsible for rotational stability, others for lateral flexion and extension. Those muscles, coupled with the muscles of the abdominal cavity, neck, pelvis (hip) and pelvic floor, make up the entire core.
Many of these muscles are involuntary or react to imbalance automatically when trained properly. If we substitute the deeper muscles with the larger, more superficial muscles (due to pain or weakness), exercise alone will not guarantee proper activation and training. If not trained properly, deeper muscles can remain slow, ineffective or completely turned off.
The key to training core muscles is to create an exercise environment that delivers instability or a disturbance in the balance of the body (Perturbation). When done properly, this will activate the small, deep dynamic stabilizers before the larger, prime movers do their job creating a stable spinal column in all three planes of motion, both when moving or standing still.
Many exercise specialists and exercise machines are missing these key elements to get the job done correctly. Make sure you address these elements when putting together your core training regimen. Vibration, rapid changes in direction and throwing your body off balance at the spinal cord level, which can not be controlled by conscious effort, will help enormously in training your core muscles. Bodyblade was created specifically to automatically address these issues in training the core.
Bodyblade rapidly changes directions at a rhythm of 4.5 cycles per second, which translates to your body reacting 270 times per minute to resist the forces of the blade moving back and forth. The inertia challenges the body to contract its muscles to maintain balance, coordination, speed and strength.
Come and demo the Bodyblade at IHRSA 2010 at the San Diego Convention Center this weekend and feel the power of combining vibration and inertial resistance training.
Register for Bodyblade Instructor Training at WSSC, June 3rd, 8:00AM–4:00PM.