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Core-Principles: The Function of Functional Training


Okay?okay?okay! Enough already!!! It seems like with every new term, every new invention or just about anything that is seemingly not "Everyday" that we all become flustered and assume we know nothing, which is both a testament to our lack of faith in ourselves and also a reflection of our ever-growing dependence on externals to give us a little reassurance where our natural instincts should be in high gear.

My intention with this article is not to offend anyone especially those that whom, without their continual support I would surely be seeking a new line of work, and yes I am referring to my clients, so please don't feel like I'm bashing "you" if I ever refer to any particular individuals or events, no names will be mentioned though. Okay so?a while back, a client that I really respect and admire as a person had a dilemma that caused quite a bit of frustration for him and the other party that was involved?his daughter, also a client. What happened (an avoidable sport related injury) was tough on all involved, including myself, which, for me was my integrity as a fitness professional, something that I don't take lightly and also a profession where in today's world either has a negative connotation or if viewed positively, "we" are all equally educated and equipped to handle all aspects of fitness when it comes to the customers specific and infinite diversities; be it post-rehabilitation, specificity of sport, special populations or general fitness concerns or needs... All fitness trainers are not "professionals" (imagine that!) nor are they equal in their abilities and hardly ever do you find a fitness trainer with expertise in a variety of different specialties! It takes many years of education, study, application with thousands of delicate intricacies (people are complex) that make us all, well?'us", minutely distinct. It also requires an understanding of unique differences in personalities and the ability to cope with a multitude of unknown, potential disasters; not to mention?likes, dislikes, opinions, lifestyles, cultures, beliefs and so on? And it's not just a general understanding of anatomy, physiology, exercise-science or athleticism? It also includes an aptitude in psychology, communication and a deep desire to help others and to serve your fellow man with all that propels you forward?or at least that is what it is to me!

I'm a pretty sensitive guy especially when it comes to my client's needs and the fulfillment of their needs and when something strikes to the bone such as this particular incident, I become so absorbent of their concerns it usually drives me to really dig deep into myself and hopefully I become a better resource for my clients out of these situations, which ironically if you read on is why I am writing this piece in the first place. The previously mentioned sport related injury of a talented young athlete is what motivated me to put pen to paper, she is very gifted and posses the kind of personality that we desperately need as role models in modern day athletics. But she was injured by a degreed professional and it seemed like there wasn't anyone around that could see 'the picture' clearly: The "DIAGNOSIS"?rehab-therapy mingled with the rigors of hard-core team training?this boggled me; rehab always precedes specificity (sport) training, build, repair and then if recovery is attained, hit the hard-core stuff, plain and simple because re-injury will surely squelch the spirit and possible prevent true talent from ever recognizing it's infinite potential.

This article is actually on core training or as I'll title it? Kore-Training, but what is really functional training and not just abdominal/tummy training or training the body from it's core center of gravity or even training the body beginning with it's proximal musculature moving outward toward the distal focal point. The big misconception with core training is that it is just mid-section training and all you have to do is some quick crunches or even worse hyperextensions and your "core" will be stronger and leaner. I hear this all the time and it still puzzles me, its one thing for the customer seeking fitness to not be 100% sure what core training is, but a professional should know better! Guess what? Too many fitness trainers, sports and conditioning coaches and other so-called "professionals" have no idea what core training is! In essence it is just functional training and 'functional' simply translates to the training of function/daily uses of the body or just training our bodies as they were designed to move. This obviously varies from person to person, athlete to athlete and the specific uses of each and every individual. Now, for a little tech-talk?

If you wanna get down to nuts and bolts, the primary vicinity of the core is called the?are you ready for this? Lumbo-Pelvic-Hip-Complex and in order to enhance the integrity of the core, what we are really doing is developing better dynamic postural control, increasing muscular balance, a greater degree of neuromuscular and bio-mechanic efficiency and building or rebuilding structural endurance and stabilization strength and power. And that's core training? What does this mean to the layman? Crunches? Sit-ups? No! It means something different to each and every one of us. Are, ab exercises part of core training? Perhaps, if the lumbar region is strong enough to endure these exercises, but usually crunches are performed so poorly that a greater potential for injury will nullify what positive effects the crunches might possibly provide. So, the answer is both yes and no, depends on who is asking and your particular conditioning level, however rather than sticking our bodies in odd looking machines we should use movements that are relative to our activities or our sport or more specifically we should just use movements that keep our bodies free to move through space as we target various muscle groups, and if pondered, it doesn't take a genius to figure that out. The truth is both the Greeks and Romans trained for competition like this thousands of years ago, not to mention the fact that our bodies have not changed that much biologically, biochemically or physiologically, we are made of the same material as they were then.

Common sense is the key, move our bodies as they were designed to function and allow them to improve through progression and repetition. If we are looking to rehabilitate, repair or strengthen debilitations or genetically pre-disposed weaknesses then my advise would be?consult a qualified professional and by professional I mean someone who has a back-ground in this specific area of 'application' or applied expertise: this "expert" should give an assessment and then a prescription of a detailed movement protocol for the individual, what you should be weary of is the "professional" that eagerly dispenses a standardized penciled-in work-out sheet that resembles your?'Free-Introductory-Work-Out' card at "Jack's Work-Out Shack". Also, if any of these "professionals" hurt you? Then, they simply are not "PROFESSIONALS"! Final note, I am adamantly opposed to "knocking" hard working, well intended others of my particular profession as well as those of the medical community, but when injuries are concerned, we should always do our selves justice and seek more than one (1) 'professional' opinion?degrees, credentials and "leg-up" opportunities aside?and I know you don't need me to tell you that. I, applaud each and every one of you that chooses the right choice, because the right is merely an echo of truth!

-Kurt Lee Hurley, Veritas

Kurt's website http://www.kreatefitness.com, as well as his Provo Utah Private Fitness Facility Synergy Fitness Systems, specializes in in providing leading edge exercise and nutrition programs and a super premium supplement line. All of these superior products offer superior results.


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