After reading one of Gray’s articles it is amazing how and why we do our core training in the positions that we do. It comes as no surprise that these positions are part of our “neurological framework” and musculoskeletal system. Isolation training is a philosophy that I do disagree with because those that train this way (almost everyone in a commercial gym) do not understand that it is not going to be the most beneficial way to stay healthy, move better, and improve. The brain knows everything and it recognizes movement patterns not simple muscle groups. Two of the simplest ways to look at core training for the human body (fundamental movements of the body) is to look at running and climbing.
- Running : needs spine to be stable to transfer energy from leg to the other, spine also needs to be stable while arms move in opposition (a counterbalance mechanism)
- Climbing : spine needs to be more dynamic and move a bit more
Both of these require different demands on the core. Most importantly, we need to recognize the neurodevelopment of infants. We are talking about how babies learn all of these sequences from propping up on the hands, rolling over, crawling, getting up on 1-knee, to standing etc. This is a branch of kinesiology known as developmental kinesiology. Is it not amazing that infants are never told how to get up or do any of those required movements yet they do it anyway and walk at some point in their life? How is this possible?
The core must be reflexive to your actions and/or reactions to things. Simply holding a plank does not necessarily fix a core, it is being able to maintain a point of stability in the presence of change. Simply, looking at people brace their stomach hard as hell during simple core exercises is not what we need to teach. We know that muscle imbalances are typically not healthy but it also affects the reflexive nature of the core. This is why we would say that adequate mobility is needed in order to stabilize effectively. Without it the wiring is a bit off.
Another awesome idea to think about: Doing crunches, while it may increase strength, does not guarantee that the core will be able to transfer that over to strength in a lift. It is about timing and sequencing that your core can work. When you look at core training, this is why things like chops and lifts are so vital. The limbs move in movement while the torso remains stable.
So the positions of core training… 1/2 kneeling, tall-kneeling, standing, quadruped etc. these are positions of babies, yup babies, but we should be able to own each position with core exercises. Remember that the core is reflexive not just simply holding planks for your dear life. Hope this provided some insight!