Core Training for the Rotary Athlete

25 Mar Core Training for the Rotary Athlete

The development of the core is integral to the rotary athlete. Participants in the sports of golf, tennis, baseball, and softball encompass rotary athletic actions where speed and power are generated in the tranverse plane. In order to generate energy, transfer speed efficiently, and maintain the athletic positions required of these sports, it is necessary to develop a core structure with the capacity to execute the aforementioned athletic requirements.

The Core

The core in the most simplistic terms is a reference to an anatomical area of the body. This anatomical area of the kinetic chain is composed of all the articular, neural, and soft tissue structures on the lateral, posterior, and anterior sections of the body from just above the knees to slightly below the chest.

A more detailed anatomical view of the core provides the health and fitness professional a greater understanding of the structures encompassing this section of the kinetic chain. According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine the key lumbar spine components (i.e. core) include the transversospinalis group, erector spinae, quadratus lumborum, and latissimus dorsi. Structures of the abdominal group include the rectus abdominus, external oblique, internal oblique, and transverse abdominus. The musculature of the hip incorporates the glutes maximus, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, and psoas.

The anatomy of the core functions as a unit to assist in stabilization, force production, and reduction within the kinetic chain. Although discussion of the core as a separate unit is necessary relative to the development of the kinetic chain structures incorporated within this anatomical section of the body, the fitness professional must continue to recognize the entire kinetic chain operates as an integrated unit in the execution of human movement patterns.

Lumbo-Pelvic Hip Complex:

  • Lumbar Spine: transversospinalis group, erector spinae, quadratus lumborum, latissimus dorsi
  • Pelvis: glutes maximus, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, psoas
  • Abdominal: rectus abdominus, external oblique, internal oblique, transverse abdominus

 

Once an understanding is generated on what composes the core, the guidelines for core training can be reviewed. The development of the core consists of a comprehensive series of training modalities developing neuromuscular control, stabilization, strength, endurance, and power within the structures of this anatomical area of the kinetic chain.

Neuromuscular control is the ability of the kinetic chain to work synergistically to produce force and reduce force and transfer energy efficiently. Neuromuscular control is based upon the stabilization capacities of the core musculature and entire kinetic chain. Stabilization can be defined as the ability of the kinetic chain to maintain the required postural positions during integrated functional movement patterns.

Stabilization of the kinetic chain is centered upon the core and development of neuromuscular strength, endurance, and power. Strength is the ability of the muscular system to produce the required levels of force to complete the required functional movement. Endurance is the potential of the kinetic chain to perform a repetitive movement pattern without neuromuscular fatigue, and power is the capacity of the neuromuscular system to produce the greatest amount of force in a short amount of time.

The development of stability, strength, endurance, and power within the core requires the adherence to specified training principles and guidelines. Knowledge of these principles will provide the fitness professional the ability to implement core training strategies to advance the proficiency at which the kinetic chain of the rotary athlete has in the ability to execute the athletic actions associated with their sport.

Time Under Tension

Time under tension is a training modality in which a specified anatomical position is maintained for a time period of 10 – 45 seconds. This process facilitates the isometric contraction of the stabilizing musculature of the lumbo/pelvic/hip complex. Benefits of this training modality are improved contractile properties, increased stabilization strength, endurance, and intramuscular coordination.

Muscle Contractile Range

Integrated functional movement of the kinetic chain occurs through the process of force production and force reduction, and stabilization by the muscular system. The process by which the neuromuscular system creates and decreases force, and develops stabilization is through concentric, eccentric, and isometric neuromuscular contractions. A comprehensive core program should consist of modalities developing the entire aforementioned contractile range of the muscular system.

Systematic Training

A comprehensive core program should follow a systemic and structured approach to the development of the core musculature. The process by which this goal is achieved is through sequential training stages, where modalities are implemented in a progressive manner to continually challenge the physical qualities of the kinetic chain.

Categories of Core Training

Performance training for the rotary athlete is predicated upon a systematic approach where the fitness professional first identifies the kinetic chain dysfunction, next creates a plan to address dysfunction/performance, and finally implements the corrective and performance training program.

The process by which stabilization, strength, endurance, and power is developed within the core musculature of the kinetic chain is through an integrated series of modalities. The fitness professional must understand it is not one type of training or group of exercises through which the core musculature is developed for rotary athletes. It is through a comprehensive series of differing types of training modalities this goal is achieved.

It is through this integrated approach to core training by which the fitness professional can develop the required neuromuscular efficiency, stability, strength, endurance, and power requirements of the core required of the golf swing. An integrated approach to core training will incorporate 3 categorical types of training: 1) Stabilization, 2) Strength and Endurance, and 3) Power.

  • Stabilization Training: Isometric and Neuromuscular Training
  • Strength and Endurance: Concentric and Eccentric Contractile Spectrum Training
  • Power: Dynamic Training

 

Stabilization Training

Stabilization training consists of two types of modalities, Isometric and Neuromuscular Training. The goal of these modalities is to enhance the intra-muscular coordination, deep spinal stabilization capacities, and postural control capacities of the core musculature.

Isometric Training utilizes the principle of time under tension to activate the deep spinal stabilizers and postural musculature of the core. Neuromuscular Training incorporates the limits of stability principle to challenge the postural control capacities of the core musculature. Stabilization training is characterized by exercises triggering the segmental stabilization requirements of the core with minimal ranges of motion within the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex.

Strength and Endurance Training

Core strength and endurance training consists of primarily concentric and eccentric musculature contractions through multiple planes of motion. The goal of these modalities is the development of muscular strength and endurance in the core musculature through the entire contractile range of the kinetic chain.

The principles of overload and progression are main components of eliciting the desired training response in this phase of training. The training variables of volume, load, frequency, and duration are utilized in this phase of the client’s training to create and overload on the kinetic chain. Movement patterns the fitness professional should look to facilitate in this phase are as follows: Upper extremity and lower extremity movements with stabilization of the L-P-H, anti-rotary actions where the L-P-H is stable against tranverse plane movement patterns, and rotary actions with tranverse plane training. The training of these movement patterns within this phase addresses the core musculature requirements within the rotary athlete.

Power Training

Power training utilizes dynamic exercise modalities to develop high levels of force production within the core musculature. Power training should entail the principle of progression with exercises that are cross specific to the golf swing. In addition, the fitness professional should incorporate both rotary and linear movement patterns within this phase to provide a transfer of training effect to the client’s golf swing.

Power training modalities for the core must cover a continuum of three different types of power development. The first type entails exercises developing the initial rate of force production or power development within a movement pattern. The second category will focus on training modalities developing power once the functional movement pattern by the kinetic chain has been initiated. The final type of power training exercises focus on the ability of the kinetic chain to switch from eccentric muscular actions to concentric muscular actions proficiently.

Summary

The number of core exercises available to the fitness professional is vast. Numerous modalities, training programs, and techniques exist for them to utilize with their client base. It is important to remember the requirements of the kinetic chain relative to the execution of the movement patterns of the rotary athlete.

The process of developing a comprehensive core program for the rotary athlete begins with the assessment. The utilization of a series of physical screens will assist in determining if any dysfunction exists in the kinectic chain. Once dysfunction of the kinetic chain has been identified, the next step is the development of a comprehensive corrective and performance training program.

A core program for rotary athletes will utilize a number of different modalities to improve neuromuscular control, stabilization, strength, endurance, and power capacities of this anatomical region of the kinetic chain. Through a systematic process of training, the fitness professional can reduce the chance of injury, increase performance, improve quality of life, and provide their client base the opportunity to perform in their chosen sport at a higher level.

About Performance Coach Sean Cochran: Sean Cochran, one of the most recognized performance coaches in sports today. A career spanning positions with 2 major league baseball organizations, over 10 years on the PGA Tour and work with top professionals including three-time Masters, PGA, and British Open Champion Phil Mickelson, future hall of fame Trevor Hoffman, and Cy Young award winner Jake Peavy. He has been involved in the production of numerous performance videos and authored books including; Performance Golf Fitness, Complete Conditioning for Martial Arts, and Fit to Hit. He has been a presenter of educational seminars for numerous organizations including the world renown Titleist Performance Institute.

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