What is rotational stability and why should you care?
To me, rotational stability means how well your body behaves and reacts when twisting. Imagine a baseball pitcher going through a wind up. From raising the leg, to rotating the torso to the powerful launching of the ball while stepping forward. A lot of rotational stability is needed. If that pitcher gets stronger equally in all areas of this twisting motion, it just makes sense that he or she will be a stronger pitcher. Nolan Ryan is a great example of a major league, hall of fame pitcher who took strength training very seriously. As his career progressed, he became much stronger in all areas of his wind up.
WHY DOES THIS MATTER TO ME, SCOTT?
OK, now that I’ve given you a visual of what rotational stability is think about all of the twisting that you do in everyday life.
- Getting up out of bed
- Stretching with your arms above your head
- Getting dressed – hopping around on one leg while putting one foot in your pants
- Avoiding scattered toys all over the living room
- Picking up a toddler and putting him in his high chair
- Bending down to tie your shoe
- Lugging a suitcase through an airport
You get the idea.
As Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Diane Vives points out, “it is very rare in nature to find muscles that are vertical; the majority of muscles throughout the body either have a horizontal or diagonal orientation. This means that our functional, global movements are either resisting rotation in order to stabilize joints OR engaging rotation to create natural, whole motions.”
In simple terms, these horizontal and diagonal muscles that run throughout your body, help to keep you upright. They help to keep your spine vertical so that you can stand up. Standing up is pretty easy for most of us. If you’re reading this, you’re probably interested in more intermediate to advanced stuff like exercising to lose weight, building muscle and/or improve your conditioning.
Targeting dynamic rotational movements is the key to better overall fitness results. These multi-movements save time, build quality muscle and get your metabolism amped up into hyper drive. Dynamic rotational movements (DRM) hit multiple muscle groups and take them through a full range of motion.
LETS NOT WASTE YOUR TIME
In my 30 years of experience and a busy Father of 4 young kids, I’m not interested going through all of the choices that I have for using DRM in my own training. I want to know what the BEST most EFFECTIVE choice is. I’m familiar with dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, body weight movements, medicine balls, Indian clubs, resistance bands, chains, kegs, tires, ropes, suspension trainers, box jumps, sprints, rings and whatever else that I may have left out.
I want to know what the one piece of equipment is that I can use to effectively train my body, taking it through DRM and getting the best results in the shortest amount of time.
THE ANSWER IS…
The answer lies in using asymmetrical loads.
Asymmetry: having two sides or halves that are not the same.
When you take your body through DRM – Dynamic Rotational Movements using an off centered load, you create the challenge of resisting rotation (due to the pull of the load). In order to resist rotation, you must get stronger as the load gets heavier. If you’re getting stronger, you’re building lean tissue (if your nutrition and sleep patterns are adequate), burning more calories (bigger muscles burn more calories) and improving athleticism, coordination, brain power (more on this another time), agility and conditioning.
In short, you’re becoming a more fit person with less risk of injury.
This will carryover into most every sport and into every day life.
PERHAPS THE BEST WAY TO PROVE IT…IS FOR YOU TO DO IT
OK, enough talk. I can tell you that the ice cream that I had for lasts night cheat meal was delicious. I can describe the chocolate creaminess, the gooey peanut butter core and the chunks of dark chocolate that triggered my endorphins. That may come close but nothing beats the real thing.
Here’s an exercise for you to try:
Always warm up and do some light stretching before you try this exercise. It’s easy to cramp up – as you’ll see me do at the end of the video above.
- Do 10 reps/rest 10 seconds
- Do 9 reps/rest 9 seconds
- Do 8 reps/rest 8 seconds
- Do 7 reps/rest 7 seconds
- Do 6 reps/rest 6 seconds
- Do 5 reps/rest 5 seconds
Done. You just did 45 reps of a “fun”, unique exercise that will reach your abs/core and front delts (shoulders) in a brand new very effective way!
Have you done this exercise before? Probably not. The sledgehammer can be used for MUCH more than just striking a tire. To see all of the benefits of sledgehammer training, visit http://www.thesledgehammerworkout.com