Core Training-Get off the Floor

Core Training-Get off the Floor

Are you still crunching to strengthen your core?  Get your core off the floor and try vertical core training, which recruits more muscles for a more effective workout.

Todd Wright, CSCS, strength and conditioning coach for the University of Texas men’s basketball program has come up with Vertical Core Training (VCT).

“Floor exercises like crunches don’t translate well to real-life situations,” explains William Gibbs, MD, medical director of the Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation at the New York Hospital of Queens.  “Imagine moving a heavy box or hitting a tennis ball. You need to stand to recuit your core muscles most effectively.”  Weight-bearing movements in the standing position get all the muscles attached to the hips and pelvis involved.

Because we live, work and play upright, our nervous system understands that position the best explains Todd Wright.

Not all floor exercises are bad or that vertical core training exercises are a brand new concept.  There are plenty of core exercises- planks and stability ball moves that recruit more muscles and translate better to real life than a simple crunch does.

Wright’s concept for Vertical Core Training is performing an entire core workout  vertically in order to train every element of the core and give the feet, ankles, pelvis, ribs and thoracic spine as much play as possible.

The key to Vertical Core Training (VCT) achieve tri-planar motion (sagittal, frontal and transverse) which encompass dipping, tilting and twisting our bodies since we move in 3D.

Concepts to Remember:

Everything’s attached: The body works as one unit. Freezing parts of the body to the floor such as the pelvis or feet can create imbalances in the entire chain.

You need to move loads: There are three primary loaders and the most important is ground reaction. Another loader is gravity and the third primary loader is momentum.

Feet  are important: There are 52 bones in the feet and only 206 bones in the entire body.  In the feet there are 33 different joints and many muscles that attach there, making the feet incredibly complex.  Every time your foot hits the ground, all those bones and muscle react, causing movement of the lower leg and femur, which connects to the pelvis, where all the core muscles attach.

Thoracic (middle spine) is the key, too: Being active means moving your arms, and the arms drive the rib cage.  Every rib is attached to the thoracic spine.  Traditional core exercises on the floor don’t allow for adequate movement of the thoracic spine which can be a big problem.

Exercises of Vertical Core Training:

Split Stance Overhead Press with dumbbells.

Motion of overhead press drives the core in three dimensions.

The momentum of the dumbbells above the head extend the thoracic spine which created a top-down force that causes the rib cage and pelvis to move which switches on all the muscles that connect your pelvis, rib cage and thoracic spine.

Lunge and Throw with a medicine ball.

By lunging forward and back, you are using ground reaction through your feet to drive energy through your body.

The momentum of the lunge and the throw creates another load diagonally through the core which activates all the core muscles in the hips, ribs and pelvis.

The Posterior Lunge and Press.

The reaction of the pelvis is much different when you step backward rather than forward.

It created more hip extension while working the core muscles through three planes which translates to more flexibility and power.

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