Everybody says prevention is the best medicine but few medical practitioners actually focus their practice on preventing injury. 15 years ago, I had a paradigm shift in treatment philosophy and stopped treating back pain and began optimizing my clients core training to prevent injury.
Today If you see ten different experts for core training you will recieve 10 different opinions. Practice vairations are very common, for example the same low back patient was given to 25 different expert surgeons and 25 different opinions were given.The better the expert, the more opinionated they will be that their latest and greatest core exercises are your answer. An expert becomes like one of the five blind men examining an elephant (below). The expert is often right, yet fails to see the big picture.
Your solution is to see the big picture. I call this the ” see the elephant” approach thereby allowing to use a mixed methods approach. The Mixed Method Approach sees validity of each expert and integrates the best of their knowledge into a hybrid plan for you. The Mixed Method Approach puts the spear, rope, snake, wall and tree together so you ‘see the elephant’ . Twenty five years of practice, travelling to 0ver 20 countries have helped me ‘See the Elephant’ and develop hybrid Mixed Method Treatments for my clients.
“See the Elephant” & the Mixed Method Approach for Core Training
You must Believe in “See the Elephant Approach” (Secret Method of great practitioners all over world is to make you believe in their method)
2. You must relearn good Posture (Fundamental Method of Physical Therapy Assessment. Pilates, Method, Yoga Method……)
3. You must restore full painfree range of motion to spine. Nearly all of us suffer from sitting disease and our back is becoming modeled by the chair we sit. Shockingly you lose over 50% of our spinal extension as you age.. We need to restore extension especially of Thoracic Spine and Hip (Fundamental Biomechanical Method of orthopedic medicine like McKenzie Method)
4. You must learn learn to brace, unload and protect your spine thru neutral spine methods (Method of Progressive Spine Surgeons @ San Franscico Spine Institute who treated patients with herniated discs conservatively)
5. You must strengthen your spine thru a full range of motion (High Performance Methods used by Australian Institute of Sport & way back Communist Block Methods).
The Mixed Method Approach is the best philosophy for your core training.
There is an old gym saying ” go heavy or go home”, yet few trainers have their clients perform heavy exercises ( an exercise you could perform 6 or less reps). This is especially true if the clients are women. When reviewing professional tennis players training history I find they have failed to ‘go heavy’ in previous workouts. This is remarkable to me as these workouts have been proven to significantly increase performance in tennis players.
Dr Bill Kraemer showed a 30% improvement in serve speed and 50 % increase in vertical jump with a program that emphasized the inclusion of heavy resistance exercises. In the “Essentials of Strength and Conditioning” text trainers learn that performing less then 6 reps of a structural exercise ( squat, deadlift, bench, row ect) is part of periodized plan for all athletic development. Yet very few trainers actually apply the knowledge to their clients training programs, even if they are professional women athletes.
To be honest it is not easy to convince women to “go heavy” in the gym as they associate going heavy with bulking up like testosterone filled man or being dangerous. I have found if you go heavy with a female athlete you will have likely seen her three times, first time, last time and never again.
First and foremost you must educate clients on the benefits of going heavy and inspire them to train more like the best Olympic athletes in the world. No matter how much science there is in training the best exercise for you is always the one you will do. Here’s a few pearls I hope will help you go heavy (during certain periods of training).
You will not bulk up . The reps schemes from 9-12 theorectically bulk you up. They are known as the hypertrophy periods of training- and designed to make muscles bigger. Do not worry about low reps they will just make you strong and more powerful as Dr Kraemer has shown.
You will not bulk up. Female athletes do not bulk up from hypertrophy workouts because hormonally they are not the same as men ( >1/10 testosterone levels), do not worry about lifting a weight less then 6 times ( push ups, pulls ups, single leg squats & Nordic curls for starters) unless you are taking bucket loads of testosterone.
You will not bulk up. Heavy weights have an often overlooked benefit of protecting you from breaking down by increasing positive hormones in your own body. Keeping your endocrinological system primed is critical for optimal performance and to prevent overtraining. Heavy weights are hormonal prehab for your body.
You need to build strength. Women need to build strength especially in their upper body where they are 50% as strong as men compared to the legs where they are 75% as strong as men. Very few of the pro athletes I have seen can perform a single chin up. Go test yourself? Shaping your upper body into a V will make your look more attractive by improving your shoulder to hips ratio. Your hips will look thinner.