Core-Power Training – The Missing Link

Your average training routine tends to be split into cardio workouts and strength workouts. For many people, there tends to be an imbalance between the two and this is usually dependant upon their personal preference or body composition. Although most instructors and fitness enthusiast understand what is required for either strength or cardio training, there seems to be a general lack of understanding regarding the importance of a structured core-power regime.

Holding, breathing and stretching exercises such as Yoga and Pilates are great for developing core strength. However, this in itself does not produce core-power as will be explained later in this article.

All too often I have seen British athletes fail to reach the pinnacle of their sporting glory. Whether its in football, rugby, boxing, tennis or cricket etc. When I analyse their performance it is clear to me that although most of these athletes have great strength conditioning, they lack knowledge of how to utilise their core-power to its maximum potential. Core-power is the final ingredient that turns an athlete into a champion and changes a keep-fit enthusiast from being ‘nearly fit’ to being ‘really fit’.

Power is Defined as:

‘The amount of work done or energy released in a measured time frame’.

For me it involves movement and co-ordination of the muscles to produce a burst of energy. For example, someone with a strong upper body can lift a large amount of weight. However, the same person doesn’t automatically have the ability to throw a shot-put very far if they cannot generate enough power. Strength, speed, coordination and range of movement are all combined to produce the power required to excel in throwing a shot-put

A balanced training programme that includes strength, cardio and core-power training will yield outstanding results when compared to someone who only concentrates on strength and cardio alone. Some of these benefits are listed below:

Benefits of Core-Power Training

  • Develops fast twitch muscles, which boost the bodies’ metabolism and helps burn calories more efficiently.
  • Produces lean muscle tissue that in turn gives the body a more toned appearance
  • Coordinates muscles as they move through a range of movements to provide maximum power.
  • Strengthens all of your core muscle groups, no isolation involved.
  • Uses dynamic movements to help the body react faster under real life conditions such as sporting activities, unexpected falls or trips.
  • Unleashes the true potential of your bodies inner power, which cannot be achieved with conventional strength and cardio training alone.

How do we Develop Core-Power?

There are three steps to developing core-power and these are:

  • The strength foundation
  • Free range of movement
  • Practise to perform

Strength Foundation:

A good solid strength base is the foundation for producing power. Normal everyday strength training, which is tailored to your particular sport or fitness requirement, will provide a ‘starting point’ for developing core-power.

Range of Movement:

This is where you need to break free from the confines of exercise machines and a routine designed to work on isolated muscle groups. Your body has over 640 muscles, these are designed for movement, so let your body move!!

A core-power program needs to incorporate dynamic movement through the core whilst under tension or resistance. The core muscles need to be challenged in an explosive way. They are big muscles that are able to generate a tremendous amount of energy. Unfortunately everyday training routines do not provide the range of movement or resistance required to properly train these muscles.

I have trained with free weights, kettle bells and now with sandbags. Personally I find that the sandbags are one of the most flexible core-power training tools that I have in my kit-bag. For an example of how these can be incorporated into an effective training routine, please see the core training video’s on this website. Resistance bands can also be used as an effective method of creating resistance combined with dynamic movement.

Practise to Perform:

Muscles learn to respond to certain movements by firing up at the right time. This is called ‘muscle memory’, and the more we practise certain movements, then our muscles learn to respond in the correct way at the correct time. For example, when a weightlifter performs a ‘clean and jerk’ there are a number of muscle groups that need to kick in at various points of the lift. As the lifter practises this movement, the muscles become used to the routine and perform more efficiently. This allows the athlete to lift more weight because of the improved technique combined with strength gains.

Core-power training can be adapted to suit any sport or activity because it replicates natural body movements that would be required. Since all of our pushing, pulling, twisting, lifting, jumping, running and other activities require the use of the core muscles. As we practice free range of movements against resistance, our bodies will become more efficent at performing these movements in real life. Improved muscle memory will ensure that complex movements become second nature and our bodies will be able to perform these tasks at a higher level, for a sustained period of time.

If you want to take your fitness to the next level, then core-power training is the key to releasing your full potential. Our core training programs will show you exactly how to perform at you best.

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