Cirque Du Soleil or Cirque Do It This Way: You are only as strong as your core

The other day we were watching a movie from Cirque Du Soleil and as we were watching we were discussing how the acrobats were not amazingly buff dudes, yet they were able to accomplish gravity defying stunts like it was a cake walk. You would never see them walking down the street and identify them as some of the worlds most amazing athletes, yet the stunts they perform leave you questioning if it is not the beginning of a new evolutionary track of super humans on the rise (Can anyone say mutants? I guess we know what Dr. X is doing with his students now a days). It just goes to show that core strength and not bulky muscles are what are most important where strength is concerned. Remember, “you are only as strong as your core.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhznW5XhdUM

Remember that great line in the Princess Bride where Fezzik says “It’s not my fault I’m the biggest and strongest.  I don’t even exercise.” (Andre the Giant- princess bride) Poor Fezzik, maybe if you had core strength your boss wouldn’t ridicule you all the time. That is “inconceivable” to me to imagine someone being the biggest and the strongest without exercising.  Not to mention that being the biggest does not always mean you are the strongest.  When I think of strength I envision someone who has perfect posture and can move in a way that whatever activity they are engaged in, they make it look easy.  Just like the acrobats in Cirque Du Soleil when they are hanging from a bungee cord that is attached to their waists and they act out a war scene while keeping their body in a horizontal position and they make it look like they are running along the floor instead of on a vertical wall. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GB5MvTy-JTk watch from 3:57)

So what is the core and why are we blogging about it today?  There are many different ideas about what muscles are considered to be a part of the core and what is the most effective method to train them and these ideas are ever changing due to ongoing research.  In my opinion, the core includes the transverse abdominus (which is like a cumberbun that is worn around the waist of a tuxedo), the rectus abdominus (the “six pack” abs), the obliques (which are the side abdominals), the back, and the glutes (butt muscles).  I believe that the glutes are an extension of your core.

Michael Boyle (who is an active contributor to the growth and change that are being seen in the world of fitness and strength and conditioning) says, “The new concept of the core is simple:  Core is anti-rotation.  Core is the prevention of motion.”  What that means is that you prevent movement of the trunk while you are moving the arms and the legs.  For example, if you are doing a pushup you are not going to be sticking your butt in the air every time your chest goes toward the floor, instead you will keep a nice straight line from your shoulder to your heel and then bend the elbows to take the chest toward the floor.  The only body part that should be moving is the elbows.

The core is important because energy is transferred through the core and if the core is not strong enough the body will compensate by using other muscles to perform the work.  When other muscles are used it causes muscle imbalances which, over time, can and do result in injuries.  Any kink in the kinetic chain caused by muscle imbalances or due to injury, affect the amount of energy being transferred to different areas of the body, which in turn affects the form that is used to perform the exercise or activity.

The Artisans- Sculpting a new you.

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