Rotation will help fitness come around

from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Certified Personal Trainer, National Strength and Conditioning Association)

It’s been said that the success of a business often boils down to location, location, location. Well, your workout regimen probably could benefit from some rotation, rotation, rotation.

Rotation was a neglected, almost ignored, facet of training many years ago. Going back to my high school days, I can’t think of any rotational exercises that we did excluding maybe some sit-ups with a twist. Athletes benched, squatted, pressed and curled, and that was it. Although it’s addressed more nowadays in this shift toward functional training, it still is overlooked by many, especially nonathletes —- your average Joes and Janes in the gym, you know the ones who say, “I just want to get toned.” But the ability to rotate is essential for everyone, not just athletes. Mike Boyle, who is one of the pioneers of rotational and functional movement, says “torso training” isn’t fun and doesn’t work the mirror muscles, but it’s a key to injury reduction and improved sports performance. “Ask yourself, how many sports involve flexion and extension of the trunk?” he wrote in his book “Functional Training for Sports.” “The answer is very few. Sports is about stabilization and rotation.” The human body moves in three planes, frontal (which actually is out to your sides), sagittal (flexion and extension) and transverse (diagonal). Gary Schofield, director of sports performance at Greater Atlanta Christian, said few exercises were done in the transverse plane years ago. “Rotational training has become an integral part of the weight room,” he said. “Rotation occurs in every fundamental movement pattern we do.” Think about it. With no rotation, we’d all be moving around like robots. Rotation, however slight, is needed in something as routine as walking. A baseball player who can’t rotate quickly and powerfully to hit and to throw simply isn’t much of a baseball player. Same holds true for golf or any racquet sport. And the ability to turn or rotate is the essence of agility, which is needed for virtually every sport. Boyle and Schofield emphasize that establishing stability through the torso is necessary before developing rotational power. The body has to be able to withstand rotational force before it can produce rotational force, Schofield said. He uses heavy-duty resistance bands and twisting movements with medicine balls or on stability balls. He’ll also use kettle bells or plates. Schofield likes to do the movements as quickly and forcefully as possible. The farther the arms are away from the body, the more stress will be placed on the core, he said. Boyle, who also likes to use medicine balls and cables, said torso training should be done at least as often as conventional abdominal training (crunches, sit-ups). And once stabilization is achieved, he too says it should be done quickly. Explosive medicine ball tosses to a partner or against the wall are effective. “Rotation with resistance is sometimes done, but rotation with velocity is frequently not addressed,” Boyle wrote. Both athletics trainers believe that where people go wrong is in their approach. Too many train abdominals or any body part to look good rather than to perform better. “Abdominal definition is the result of diet, not torso work,” he wrote. “Train your muscles to help you shoot harder, throw farther or stay healthy longer.” The muscles involved in rotation —-the abs, obliques, transverse abdominus, glutes, hips —- all help in supporting the spinal structure, Schofield said. They also serve a powerful link from the lower body to the upper body. So get them stable and strong and —- with proper diet and cardio —- other benefits, like that coveted six-pack will surface. “People do it for the wrong reason,” Schofield said of core training. “I do it for function, for producing and reducing force, not necessarily for the looks I’m getting out of it.”…read original article
Posted on: 12/10/2007, by : Jacqui

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