March 4, 2014

Core control a must with free weights

I’ve always been a supporter of training from the inside out when it comes to exercise.

It is important to learn how to control the inner core first, then work your way out to the extremities.

Even a simple standing dumbbell curl can be dangerous if your inner core is not trained to turn in the right fashion. Before utilizing free weights, it is important that you have complete control over your core musculature to avoid injury down the road and get the most out of the exercise itself.

It is worthy to note that circuit machines such as the leg press, chest press, leg curl, etc. were designed to somewhat bypass the core and allow therapists to isolate individual muscle groups without affecting other systems in the body. This is not a bad method by any means. This is a great way to focus on one thing at a time, rather than overwhelm the body with multiple stimuli. These machines are also great for beginners to learn the proper technique, breathing and posture if instructed correctly.

Using all the muscle groups of the body separately creates a problem down the road, however. How do you put these groups together in order to mimic everyday events such as shoveling snow, lifting heavy equipment or improving performance in a sporting event? The answer is core control using free weights.

Breaking out of the realm of exercise circuit machines and into free weights involves some instruction. You must strengthen and learn to control the core first, before progressing into heavy weight using dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, etc. The core itself consists of the hips, spine and shoulder complex.

The shoulder complex was discussed in last week’s article and consists of controlling the shoulder blades and upper back. Learning how to pull back the shoulder blades is an important necessity to core control. Without this, the shoulders and upper back will not be in a good position to support weight.

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