The CORE of Training
By Leigh Sherry (BAppSC) Accredited Exercise Physiologist
Do you train from the outside in? Or from the inside out?
Part of our job description as a Group Fitness Instructor (GFI), is to be able to impart sensible, ‘backed-up’ advice to our clients. At the centre of any successful and well-balanced training program should be ‘the Core’ (see what I did there ;-)) It may sound obvious to us but to too many people it isn’t.
‘The Core’ is pivotal to all of our movements and it is irresponsible to train our periphery (our arms, legs) without doing the work (i.e training) for the part of the body that all movements stem from. Luckily, Les Mills is at the forefront of training the “Outer Unit” and “Sling” muscles of the core in our CXWORX® Program.
Firstly, let’s get clear on what ‘the core’ is
The Spine is the base for the core. It is otherwise known as the vertebral column (fig 1) and consists of 26 bones in an adult body – 24 separate vertebrae interspaced with vertebral discs, and additionally the sacrum and coccyx (tailbone). The spine plays an extremely important role in our bodies as it supports the upper body’s weight, allows posture while allowing for movement and flexibility and protects the spinal cord. The optimal position for the spine to carry load (eg body weight) is in neutral (notice the S-type shaped curves of the spine below). However, for us to be functional the spine needs to move out of neutral and our training needs to address all postures.
The “Inner Unit” (Fig 2) muscles that provide support / stability under light loads include; the Transversus Abdominis (TVA), Multifidus, Pelvic Floor and Diaphragm. It is extremelyimportant to work this section of the core by training the core to do what it does! Sounds simple right?! Dysfunction here is often the cause of many injuries. Trained and Accredited Allied Health Professionals (eg. Physiotherapists, Chiropractors, Exercise Physiologists) may be helpful in teaching you about how to train specifically.
CXWORX® does not focus on the “Inner Unit”., but instead focuses on the “Outer Unit” muscles such as the Rectus Abdominis, Obliques and Back Extensors, and the “Muscular Slings” (Fig 3) of the body that provide movement and strong support (eg a hover). The Slings of the body are muscle networks that connect the lower limbs with the upper limbs which produce movements like walking and running.
Fig 3. Examples of muscular slings
The CXWORX® program is developed by Program Directors, Susan Trainor and Dan Cohen and technically advised by Corey Baird. It is supported by scientific research done by Dr Jinger Gottschall, Dr Jackie Mills and Bryce Hastings published in the Journal of Strength Conditioning Research/ National Strength & Conditioning Association.
CXWORX® utilises graded resistance tubing, weight plates and body weight in a half an hour format which challenges you and delivers big results! The program is designed to be functional and recognises the importance of core training in a standing position. It is not the appropriate setting for acute phase injuries and acts more as a prehab program to stave off injury through building a strong body.
CXWORX® is about training efficiently. It provides a strong base for all other programs, sports, exercise, daily movement and injury prevention. It is an easy and effective way to get functional core training into your weekly program. If you haven’t tried a class yet, you won’t be sorry when you do (no pressure CXWORX® Instructors out there!). And after a few weeks you will notice a difference to your performance!
To find a class near you go to : Click here