CORE STRENGTH AND THE PHASES OF ENGAGEMENT.
Mainstream core training techniques do not differentiate between the demands placed on the core relative to the activity or sport being undertaken. To date there has been no general discussion regarding the phases of engagement to which the core may be subjected. It is accepted traditional core engagement practice, that no matter the activity or sport, Transverse abdominis can only be engaged at a singularly co-contracted level.
On the basis of a physiological preference for functional adaptations in strength, rather than any non-functional increases in mass, the Incidental/Deliberate Inclusion Cycle, originally offered in Program I, clearly illustrates this to NOT be the case. What we are about to explore are the long-term advantages arising from consideration of the distinct relative depths to which the core is compelled to engage throughout the full range of general movement and sporting possibilities.
The following phases of engagement will reveal, when it comes to participating in activities and sports where contact, impact and volume intensities differ, core engagement depths will also differ. It is neither appropriate nor relevant for athletes involved in high contact and high impact, and/or high repetition and high volume sports, to train their core employing the same principles as individuals not involved in either high risk or explosive athletic pursuits.
Is it reasonable, or even logical, to expect a rodeo rider, a rugby player or an Australian
rules footballer to develop their core using the same methods as a golfer, tennis player or cricketer?
1. The Acquired Core.
Acquired Core involvement can be seen in those daily routine and sporting activities where the core is involved, but because it is so routine and incidental, there is neither an awareness of the core, nor the want for its conscious inclusion. Any incidentally occurring physiological acquisition can be compared with the most basic automatic characteristics of breathing. It is not something demanding constant attention, as it can be controlled by automatic centres in the brain, and like the core, it can be deliberately regulated, even though it is normally a process which continues regardless of any thought. Fittingly, for this layperson's comparison, it is right and proper to describe the core as having similar crucially important automatic functions, where the core initiates movement, while breathing sustains movement. Consequently, if no appreciation is given to the development of core strength, or equally on improving breathing efficiency, acquired phases of both functions will deteriorate.
Moreover, if we concede most individuals have some concept of the core and its role in specific movement, they will have no understanding of the core's vital role in general movement. A common deficiency preventing the majority of individuals from knowing how to channel existing core strength to best advantage, and is possibly the most basic cause of localised fatigue and resultant pain in recurring functional activity and exercise situations. If there were a healthier respect for the principles of core involvement, and therefore the processes of core engagement, such issues as back pain would no longer instil the community with the same prevailing attitudes of avoidance and paranoia.
Everyday instances of when the core is acquired:
a) Sitting, standing - however low in intensity these positions may seem to be, it does explain how postural fatigue and back pain can set in when these so-called relaxed states are undertaken, and no consideration is given to even the simplest display of core & curve inclusion.
b) Walking/cycling, either for functional/recreational/exercise oriented motives.
c) Picking up, carrying, and putting down items of moderate size and weight, again requiring no special inclusion focus.
d) Any and all traditional strength and fitness exercises.
2. The Dynamic Core.
The Dynamic Core is demonstrated in activities containing clear core inclusion, but again where participants may or may not recognise this as being the case. Most often reflected in situations where something is felt, but participants incorrectly identify it as working the abs. The dynamic core is also seen in specialised core training, sports participation, and the more demanding daily chores.
Even though the performance of mainstream core training does require some level of strength and skill to complete, as the principles of Bodii have continued to evolve, substantial doubts as to their absolute validity as an across the board solution to core weaknesses and adaptation ideals have been uncovered.
Familiar instances of when the core is dynamic:
a) Strength and fitness training containing stability and core strength apparatus such as fitball, Bosu and balance/wobble boards.
b) Sporting actions like bowling a cricket ball, hitting a tennis ball, kicking a football.
c) Vacuuming or gardening.
d) To this point, each exercise contained in Bodii Program I are examples of the dynamic core.
Specifically: Basic Bodii exercises using 25cm core-ball.
Anaerobic endurance: mountain climber progressions.
Strength: single arm row progressions.
Flexibility/mobility: calf raise/hamstrings stretch progressions.
Observation A - It is of course possible, and in many scenarios highly probable, that demands on core engagement will carry-over into deeper and lesser phase inclusions as intensities increase and/or decrease. An example can be seen in a hypothetical analysis of a walk/sprint progression:
Sit - Stand - Walk - Jog - Run - Sprint.
If it is accepted the core is included in a sprint, it is not logical to assume it is suddenly not involved to some degree, once sprinting ceases, or even before it begins.
3. The Ballistic Core.
In many sports, the ability to engage and maintain even a dynamic core does not afford athletes with the core inclusion sufficient to handle the forces exerted on the body generally, and absorbed through the core specifically. This is especially true in sports with high intensity and high volume body contact/impact, and is a concept not highlighted simply in an athlete's ability to accept the contact/impact and play on, but most particularly in the athletes ability to accept the contact/impact, absorb the forces incidentally through an enhanced core capacity, and to repeatedly play on with no residual effects. An outcome possible only through biomechanically superior inclusions, and physiological adaptations that are able to:
a) Minimise the effects of inevitable contact/impact, injury and the debilitating consequences of fatigue through core strength conditioning, which across ballistic core specificity considerations, transfers its relevance to the individuality of all sports.
b) Prevent premature elimination from sporting competition, due to resulting contact/impact and/or injury outcomes.
An athlete’s ability to incidentally absorb high intense contact/impact is an example of ballistic core engagement, and as such any effective core strength training must be able to simulate the forces experienced at the moment of contact/impact.
Contact/impact simulations have been a standard component of the general training and skills regime peculiar to each sport. However, it should be noted, that in the performance of these general training and skills activities, the intent has never been to strengthen the core, rather it has been used to condition the athlete against the accepted rigours of that sport, while also increasing the athlete's endurance.
For athletes to properly prepare for any sport, it is most beneficial to
train all associated aspects beyond any expected performance thresholds.
Bodii reaches beyond the scope of traditional strength, fitness and sports specific training by having the capacity to simulate high intense contact/impact situations. An achievement based on specialised ballistic core strengthening techniques, which can be used to prepare athletes in the pre-season, and to supplement general training during competition and in-season phases.
The successful performance of any exercise with ballistic core requirement, depends
entirely on the participant’s psychological, biomechanical and physiological capacity to
deliberately engage and sustain the vital core inclusions at specific intensities.
Observation B - Consistent with the probability of core engagement phases carrying-over within the context of a single series of progressions, the final progression of the hypothetical sprint scenario offered in Observation A of the dynamic core, could conceivably present as:
Sit - Stand - Walk - Jog - Run - Sprint - Fall/Bump/Tackle (receive/deliver).
With greater consideration and acceptance of the role played by the core in all levels of functional movement, the effects of this very common sporting scenario could be better understood, and therefore controlled.
Core Strength and the Phases of Engagement is a part of the BODII Strength & Fitness Innovations Ausactive Approved CEC Programs, and as such is protected by all statutory Copyright provisions 2019-2023.