Are You Leaking Part II

If you missed Part I, I suggest you check that out first before reading the rest of Part II. Part I explains the underlying concept of why fixing your energy leaks is critical to overall health, fitness and performance. If left unaddressed, your energy leaks (weaknesses) will prevent you from achieving optimal performance (strength, power, speed, quickness, endurance…depends on your goals / sports / activities). And even worse, you will be at a much higher risk for injury. Optimal health, fitness and performance is hard to achieve when you are sidelined by injury.

So on with Part II…

From Part I, we will move our way up the kinetic chain: from the hips to the core. “Core training” has become a common, but often inappropriately applied concept that many fitness experts, enthusiasts and weekend warriors believe they are addressing. First, one must understand what actually constitutes the core. This would take a whole book by itself to adequately cover, so I will make it a bit more simple.

We will refer to the musculature that surrounds the hips, low back and mid back as the “core” (this is grossly simplified for the sake of this post as I could argue that the “core” could run the entire length of the body and could actually change depending on the situation!).

Much more complicated...but a good start.

The core has many functional “jobs,” but the main purpose of the core when it comes to movement during sport and everyday life is to prevent motion. When the core is properly engaged, energy is allowed to pass from one point to another (top to bottom, bottom to top, diagonally, etc). If the core is not properly engaged, and engaged with proper timing and strength, excess motion will occur at the hips and back and energy will be lost.

This will result in decreased performance, and in many cases, low back and/or hip pain. The majority of low back pain that plagues our athletes (as well as general population) is a direct result of energy leaks that occur at the core.

So what can we do??

Train to prevent motion, stop energy leaks and keep our athletes and general population performing at their best all while preventing injury. If we don’t address these energy leaks pitching  and batting velocities will be decreased, agility and speed will be much reduced, strength and power will suffer and overall athleticism will be subpar at best…and our athletes (more specifically their parents) will be providing a surgeon with the funds for a new Porsche.

I recently posted a piece on a favorite local restaurant, and within that piece also covered a few exercises that we can do to train anti-motion at the core in order to address energy leaks. They are very much applicable to this post…so here they are.

 

1)      Plank from Forearms               Hold for 30-60s

Tips: Keep your back straight, elbows right under the shoulders and don’t let the hips sag towards the floor.

 

 

2)      Side Plank           Hold for 30-60s per side

Tips: Keep your back straight, elbow right under the shoulder and don’t let the hips sag or bend.

 

 

3)      Anti-Rotation Press         10 reps per side (face the other direction)

Tips: Push the hands straight out from the chest and don’t allow the body to rotate by squeezing the core (stomach) and hips (butt).

 

 

 

In each of the exercises the goal is to resist forces (gravity and the resistance of the cable machine) from making you move at the core. Don’t let the belly button or hips drop to the floor with the planks and don’t allow yourself to rotate towards the cable machine with the anti-rotation press.

Master these exercises along with the exercises in Part I, and you are on your way to correcting 2 of the most common (but not specific to you…individualization is best) energy leaks we consistently observe among athletes and the general population.

In Part III you will learn about the last extremely common energy leak you likely need to fix, as well as an awesome example of how when training to fix these leaks, athletes become the strongest, most powerful and injury resistant athletes possible!

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