We’re about half way through the series on How to Build a Balanced Program. We’ve covered a good amount of upper and lower body training, and in this segment, we’re going to cover everyone’s favorite…
What exactly is the core?
We like to break our core training into two different segments:
- Inner core function
- Outer core function
They both have unique characteristics and should be trained in a different manner. If you neglect one or the other, your results will not be as good as they could potentially be. Even if you’re changing your body composition, making strength gains, and getting results from your training, you’re not going to have the longevity to sustain those results over time. The inner core and outer core need to work together in order to stay healthy, pain free, and sustain long lasting results.
The Inner Core
In this segment, we’re going to cover the inner core, how it’s supposed to function, and some of our favorite exercises to get the inner core firing and working in sync with the rest of your body.
Understanding what the inner core’s function is will definitely help illustrate why we target this group of muscles in our training. After we address mobility and ensure the body can move the way it’s intended to move, we attack the inner core function next. This is the most basic form of stability the body needs in order to transmit force into the ground or another object. That’s basically strength training in a nutshell. We need to be able to stabilize the body in order to transmit forces great enough to push, pull, throw, carry, or move anything…your own body included.
Speed and Timing
The inner core is more about speed and timing versus being strong. Being strong isn’t really the purpose or function of the inner core; however, being extremely quick and having the ability to turn on in milliseconds is. This group of muscles is reflexive in nature and needs to have the ability to turn on and off in just fractions of a second. If this timing is interrupted or slowed down, the muscles aren’t going to fire in time to help stabilize the body when it needs stability.
So what’s that mean?…
This means EVERYTHING when it comes to health and/or performance!
Basically, the inner core needs to fire before anything. The inner core should really be firing before movement ever occurs. The brain tells the body it’s going to move in a specific manner. This could be reaching in the refrigerator for your favorite snack, swinging a bat, or any other movement our body makes. The brain sends a signal to the muscle to tell it to move, and then it magically happens…and this all happens in milliseconds too!
In a perfect world the following would occur:
- The brain would send the signal to move
- The inner core would fire in order to give the body stability
- Then the larger muscles would fire to produce the desired movement
This sequence is vital to health and performance. If the timing is off, your body will not have the stability it needs to properly transmit forces and there will be a power reduction, limited strength gains, or even worse…an injury occurs. This is generally the injury that happens unexpectedly. You just did a subtle movement and BANG…your shoulder, back, neck, knee, or hip hurts.
Now can you see why we like to make sure the inner core is working?
Bubblegum Fart!… Wait…What?
Rolling patterns are the first thing we start to teach in order to get the inner core to start firing in sequence again. In most people, this timing is interrupted or slowed down. This could’ve happened from a previous injury or trauma to the body, bad posture, and various other reasons, but the fact of the matter is that most people lose this timing and lack proper communication within the body. Rolling patterns are designed to help get the body communicating effectively and help us re-learn an innate pattern that was lost over time. We’re going to primarily cover rolling patterns, but we’ll also throw in another one of our favorite exercises that really burns the abs while improving the timing function as well…Stability Ball Rock Backs or as we say at Accelerate…the Bubblegum Fart 🙂
Rolling patterns are generally tough for people to get without a little help. In the video below, Jared and Steve help instruct other coaches and trainers through some rolling patterns and show different strategies to help correct this pattern. Check it out!
This is a great exercise to help with the inner core timing as well. Be sure to keep calm, breathe, and try to eliminate using the neck and shoulders to get stability. If you do this one right, you’ll feel the abs burning quite a bit. Give it a shot!