By way of a brief response to a recent article in Triathlete Europe named Ditch The Crunches, I want to share a few ideas about how to train your core muscles in a way more specific to the movement demands of your sport.
Crunches, Plank Holds and other floor-based core exercises make up much of the traditional approach to core training. However, as we all run in a weight bearing posture, surely it makes sense for those engaging in running sports to train and condition the core muscles in a standing environment.
I rather like many of the exercises chosen by Jene Shaw in the article mentioned above. In addition, I’ve added a few examples of some fun and challenging standing core exercises.
Medicine Ball Woodchop
Medicine Ball Single Leg Chest Pass
What’s Functional For Your Sport?
Functional Training has become a real buzz-word in the fitness industry over recent years. I remember a few months back having an interesting conversation with a group of Physical Therapists and coaches on Twitter, discussing the definition of the term Functional.
What is functional? Well, my view is this:
With no context (i.e. not knowing what the athlete is training for – their end ‘function‘), the term functional training is completely abstract and useless.
However, if we know that athlete A is a 100m sprinter, and athlete B is a marathon kayaker, we can then observe the different movement, postural and loading demands placed on the two very different athletes in training and competition. With this information, we can then determine what constitutes the true functional demands on each athlete. Subsequently we can come up with two separate functional training regimes – one for each set of needs.
So, functional training for triathlon, functional training for running, functional training for swimming, functional training for football, functional training for hockey, etc… are all valid and important terms in my opinion. But functional training as a stand-alone phrase seems a bit lacking to me!