Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Function of the Core....

Geoff Neupert proposed this for the function of the core: 1. Produce non-compressible cyclinder to protect the spine against external load; 2. TRANSMIT force via rotation, etc.

I countered with the idea that I feel the job of the core is to prevent rotation/movement not produce movement.

Then Geoff and I spent some time on the phone and discovered that we were a lot closer on things than these two statements would appear.

When you get into a debate of semantics and internet one dimensional statements a lot can get lost in the process.

Geoff pointed out that the lumbar spine can and should rotate as it is designed to do and should do as a part of normal movement. And I agree (except under load - which we both agreed to) But it should not move beyond those norms and should be a part of the power, movement, and transition of energy from the hips. Very rarely are we in a situation where the spine should "create" movement independent from the hips.

Maintaining "long spine" (it really isn't any more complicated than it sounds - pretend there is a string through your spine out the top of your head and someone is trying to pick you up by the string) is a key we both felt was very important to core activation and function.

So we ended up being far closer and agreeing on this but if you look at the internet conversation it appears different.


Aaron Friday said...

Interesting. I immediately thought of the first principle of Taijiquan: "keep the head suspended from above." It's cool that you strength gurus have arrived at the same conclusion.

Brett Jones said...

Thanks Aaron - there are similarities and things out there to learn from almost everyone.

Franz Snideman said...

Brett, very interesting debate. My brother wrote a very good article for T-mag a couple of years ago called "Defending the Saggital Plane" and talks about the very same concept you are addressing here in your post. Most functional trianing gurus encourage to much movement from the lumbar spine and teach people to become more flexible in the lumbar area which we now can be a total dissaster. I understand where Geoff is coming from as well, being able to have motor control and move the entire spine is essential. However, most people have no business doing rotational movements, especially one that involves extreme range of motion until they have established stability and (as you said) the ability to resist movement (which I think is the underrated part of core training.)

Nice Brett!

here is the article:

Keats Snideman CSCS, CK-FMS, LMT said...

Hey Franz, thanks for the plug for the article I wrote!

I think most coaches in the know are probably saying the same thing; the primary torque/strenth producers are the hips/thighs. The lower back and trunk should only serve as a conduit for transfering force through to the extremities.

Some mobility and light strengthening exercise should be performed for maintaining adequate lumbar rotation however. Since rotation is very important to specific life and sporting situations, it is better to focus on teaching people to twist through the thoracic spine, as this is where rotation occurs much more easily.

Geoff Neupert said...

Brett--I think I need to clarify even further: since load can be velocity dominant or force dominant, the context in which I was speaking was force dominant. Of course the spine--all of it, must be able to move under the load of velocity and still protect the spinal cord. Failing to train the body to handle these movements is setting up for an injury.

That being said, mobility work should be trained first then loaded either through velocity or load second.

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