The Core of the Matter

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The fundamental underlying philosophy is that all training is core training. Without a fully functioning core, efficient movement is not possible. The core is involved in all movement as a major factor in control of movement. Currently core training is the buzzword in training. We need to rethink how we are training core in the light of the above stated philosophy. Conventional wisdom would have us doing much of our training in prone and supine positions while emphasizing drawing in or sucking in of the stomach muscles in order to activate the internal oblique and transverse abdominis. That is fine in theory, but in practice we need to look at how the core functions as one of the largest links in the kinetic chain.

The body is a link system; this link system is referred to as the kinetic chain. Functional core training is all about taking advantage of this linkage – it is how all the parts of the chain work together in harmony to produce smooth, efficient patterns of movement. Movement occurs from “Toe nails to finger nails” with all the segments working in harmony to produce smooth efficient movement.

In order to truly understand core function in the context of function of the whole body we must shift our focus away from individual muscles to integrated movements. Current thinking would have us focus on the Transverse Abdominis and the Internal Oblique as key core muscles. This is fallacious thinking because the brain does not recognize individual muscles; those muscles are two core muscles among many that contribute to efficient core function. The brain recognizes patterns of movement, which consist of the individual muscles working in harmony to produce movement. It is unreasonable to think that two muscles could play such an important role that they are more important than any other muscles. According to McGill: “The muscular and motor control system must satisfy requirements to sustain postures, create movements, brace against sudden motion or unexpected forces, build pressure and assist challenged breathing, all while ensuring sufficient stability. Virtually all muscles play a role in ensuring stability, but their importance at any point in time is determined by the unique combination of the demands just listed.” (McGill Pp 144)

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Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta

@coachgambetta

Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
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