Perturbation work is making a comeback! It seems like my biggest fan Jim Reeves, the go to guy in the Toronto area, is sharing his insight to how to train the anterior core with his collection of bosu and Swiss ball exercises! While I have not read his article, it is likely to be prone exercises like bridges or the typical swiss or medball slaps kneeling or standing.The question is what is perturbation work and how can it help athletes? Should I close my eyes and hold a medicine ball and have someone randomly tap different angles? Maybe. I have done a little of the pulsating actions in the past but in reality the measures have not been proven to transfer to more demanding athletic motions. Just like the chops and lifts from cook proven to only be good for chopping and lifting low loads, core strength is not developed through these means. Strength is a contractile force quality that can be measured and coordination is specific to the demands need on the field.
Better options are squat style snatches coupled with partner medicine ball work as the small variations of the throws and even tiny imperfections of the catches in the snatch will act as new sub-routines to the body. Research on the spine shows that perturbations will increase stiffness but so will external forces in locomotion and projectiles. Nobody wants to get stronger with proper technique of classic methods. Coaching is fatiguing as it’s hard work and nobody wants to get their hands dirty. Watch people walk back on a platform when front squatting (yes we do both), watch a dryland program with divers, watch a good MMA circuit, watch a good GPP for throwers. Core work done specifically.
I was watching my friend Matt Delaney coach an olympic lifter and he was working on core strength with various skill work with the olympic lifts. The work was skilled, specific, and used forces that will transfer. This is the basic fundamental argument with the chops is that they don’t use forces that will handle 3200 watts of hip power of a running back and only work by making them skilled choppers. While I think the exercises can be placed in a program, their lack of quantification is another testament of marketing gone wild.