Core Training

dip bridge

Core training is an essential building block for improving physical performance for athletes of all levels. The core or midsection as its names imply is central to efficient human movement patterns. Almost every movement in sport or in day to day life requires the midsection to provide stability and transfer force to the extremities.

The muscles of the deep core work on a reflex level, they are not called in to action as readily as the prime movers in the arms and legs used in typical pulling and pressing movements. These patterns are learned during early childhood but can become dysfunctional through habitual movement (or lack of movement) patterns.

Core training requires more than isolating and strengthening the abdominals. The muscles of the midsection work in coordination when providing stability or generating force. Core training improves coordination of the muscles of the midsection and their ability to provide stability to the limbs. The strength of the extremities should not exceed the strength of the core, as Bruce Lee said:

“My strength comes from my abdomen. It’s the centre of gravity and the source of real power.”

What are elite athletes doing to train the midsection? Gymnasts are some of the strongest athletes around. Chris Sommer, an American national level gymnastic coach recommends building a foundation of core strength before progressing to more advanced movements. His popular on-line training courses (aimed at civilians) do exactly that. Gray Cook has been very successful reducing injury and improving performance among elite athletes such as American footballers. His approach also focusses on addressing weaknesses and imbalances in core strength as a priority.

We run a weekly class on Monday evenings dedicated to core training and incorporate core training into our Total Fitness classes. See timetable for details.

Some of the movements pictured may appear easy but when performed correctly they can be surprisingly challenging.


FullSizeRender(3)

side plank

Daily mobility

Achieving sufficient mobility is essential to allow us to perform movements efficiently. If mobility is not maintained many people will lose the ability to perform basic movements such as a full-depth bodyweight squat. Lack of mobility is the primary obstacle to developing fitness we see amongst adults who have a predominantly sedentary lifestyle.

This short routine can be performed daily in under 2 minutes and will begin the process of reprogramming dysfunctional posture and movement patterns.

What to eat

plate of salmon and kale

If you want a fitter, healthier body get your diet right first. Most of your health and body composition goals can be achieved through eating the right food. Training plays a part in improving your physique, but you can’t out-train a bad diet.

The bulletproof diet is a great starting point. It condenses a huge amount of information and research into a one page guide. We recommend all gym members download the .pdf file and stick it to their fridge!

Eating well really needn’t be complicated. Your meal plan could be as simple as this:

MEAL PLAN

Eat 2 or 3 meals per day made from:

vegetables with butter, ghee or coconut oil / salad with olive oil
meat / fish / eggs

Snack if needed on:

nuts (mainly macadamias or coconut) / berries / dark chocolate
bulletproof coffee

To dig into the subject of nutrition a little deeper try any of these books, and their corresponding websites and pod-casts:

All of these authors have recipe ideas on their websites. Alternatively, an internet search for ‘paleo / primal recipes’ will set you in the right direction.