You won’t make a performance jump until you do this!

January 23, 2017

Doing more squats, cleans, or squat centric training routines will not yield big performance changes until you have developed the ability to keep the trunk stable (in control) when moving the legs and arms underload. Learning this skill will not only better channel all that quad, glute, and lat power, it will also significantly reduce your injury risk with progressively loaded training programs.

Optimal training potential is uncovered by systematically training your trunk to provide a non-moving foundation for the extremities to work from and requires more specificity than seen with traditional “core” work.

Feeling and understanding the difference between controlling (no movement) the spine when the extremities are moving under load versus when the spine is allowed to move along with the extremities underload, is the key to optimizing athletic performance.  Without this “internal” feeling an athlete has no perspective between the two available options.

The evidence that an athlete has yet to master this spine control skill shows up as weakness and/or inflexibility in specific extremity muscles. I see this when I initially take athletes through my “Body Balance Evaluation Process” (1,500+ athletes). The other evidence manifest when athletes suffer from non-traumatic injuries (with progressive loading) or have recurring passive tissue stiffness in the discs and/or joints following more aggressive workouts. Everything clears up when athletes learn the control skill.

Imbalances quickly correct once an athlete gets the correct internal muscle activation feeling and starts mastering control.

Learning how to control your spine posture is a skill anyone can learn but requires constant training and activating the proper muscles to maintain control when training. Below is an excellent starter drill which start to have you become more aware of the only two options available.

In the VIDEO (slow motion) I show that you can maintain a completely upright spin, versus a slumped spine posture, through the finish and recovery with minimal loss of my natural spine position.

While I train spine control all the time and it has become second nature anyone can improve this posture. It does take a lot of strength and postural endurance to maintain this powerful position especially when rowing for longer periods of time, but the yield is a powerful finish that keep you connect all the way to the release.

Drill: 10 sets of (10 to 30 second on/ 10 seconds off) – VIDEO

Set-Up – Go to your finish layback position and then sit tall by setting your spine curves to your current standing posture. To better understand this posture (current spine curves) place your back, head and feet are against a wall.

Now start a pick drill and practice keeping your trunk absolutely still.  Initially it will challenging to hold the stable spine position when compared to the slumped spine finish. As you get stronger at being able to maintain this finish posture you will start being able to put more force on the handle and feet[RK1] .  This is the real key to being able to hold onto your finish all the way through.

Step Two I will discuss he next step in this sequence in another post.

**If you are interest in learning more about this unique approach and how you can actually change your posture, please feel free to reach out to me or come to one of my upcoming Body Band-It or Body Balance Events.


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