We all know the importance of “core training,” regardless of how unclear that term has become over the years. And we know that strong, powerful glutes are essential for peak performance and aesthetic appeal. What you might not know, however, is that training the abs and glutes separately in isolation will do little to improve your performance and overall results.
“Ab training without hip strength training is useless,” says Chris Powers, Ph.D., one of the world’s foremost researchers on the complex interplay between the two. Dr. Powers also feels “the true core is the pelvis.” Indeed, the pelvis is the foundation of performance because when it’s out of line, it can have far-reaching effects from your feet to your neck.
The abs and glutes must not only be strong, but they also must be trained to work together. “Muscles that fire together, wire together” is a neuroscience mantra that I learned during my early days in grad school. That statement is also a favorite of Dr. Craig Liebenson, a guy I constantly seek out to learn better ways to improve performance and alleviate pain.
When it comes to building explosive power, nothing works better than jumping drills. However, many people have problems with jumps because their knees collapse into valgus (i.e., inward knee movement). You might be one of those people, and not even realize your knees are moving inward due to the lack of strength and neural connection between your core and glutes.
In the following video, Dr. Liebenson demonstrates a way to test if the core is firing correctly with the glutes. This test requires a partner, so seek out a qualified person to help determine if you’re in balance.
Once you’ve performed the Janda hip abduction test, you’ll know if one side is considerably weaker than the other. Let’s say you had a more difficult time resisting downward pressure when your left leg was elevated. In that case, you need to wire your abs to fire with your left hip. Therefore, this is the corrective exercise you should perform before any type of strenuous training. (You could also do the following exercise to both sides, even if you were equally strong, as a powerful pre-workout activation drill.)
Now that you’ve performed the corrective exercise, you can move forward with your training. It’s imperative to start slow with your main movements, focus on perfect form, and enhance your speed or load over time. For jumping drills, I demonstrate a simple way to train your hips to fire with your core in order to keep your knees out of valgus. The glute medius, in particular, is a key muscle that maintains proper pelvis position during dynamic movements. Here’s how to turn it on with the tri-planar glute max.
This three-part sequence covers the stability-to-power continuum, an essential concept to fully understand and develop with your clients.
I’ll be giving a seminar on May 4 with Dr. Craig Liebenson at the Movement Performance Institute in west Los Angeles. The seminar will be terrific training for any strength coach, chiro, PT, ATC, or athlete. We hope to see you there.
Stability, Strength & Power Seminar
May 4, 2014
Movement Performance Institute
8830 S. Sepulveda Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Learn how to assess-correct-reassess your clients
How to build the essential foundation of strength
Training for General Physical Preparedness (GPP)
How to promote fitness for non-athletes
The keys to building Rate of Force Development (RFD) in athletes
Science-based metabolic training guidelines
Strategies to build physical durability and resilience
$200 until April 30
$300 for May Registration
Where to Register:
You can register for the seminar at this Seminar Registration Link