Strength: noun. the ability to overcome.

“… Core Instability: A Personal History, Part 2″

by GEOFFN on April 7

I wanted to thank everybody for their questions regarding my last post.

But I need to put a disclaimer here.

Some of the assumptions being made about my experiences with Z-Health is that I somehow didn’t “finish” the “protocols” or that I misused the system or that I didn’t seek the advice of more advanced Z trainers.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

My wife is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and took all the course work for the Z-Health Master Trainer program. She didn’t complete it because I didn’t want to pay for her Master Trainer credential – her job interview. She’s done soft tissue work on me and repeatedly tested me using her S-Phase, T-Phase, and I-Phase neuro tests.

I have had many private sessions with Dr Cobb.

I’ve practiced Z ad nauseum.

The point is, there’s “stuff” missing in the Z world and that’s why I went to see Brett cause he knows both worlds – Z and FMS. I needed a fresh perspective from a different point of view, through a different lens.

Now, on to more positive “stuff.”

We were running around playing frisbee with some friends on Easter Sunday. It was a blast. I noticed two major things regarding this whole “core stability” thing:

  1. I could run, jump, twist, plant, cut without any pain in my hips. Had a little pain in my right knee, but I talked myself out of it. I believe this was just old “programming.”
  2. Courtney was running and jumping on me and I was tossing her and swinging her around just like old times.

Both are significant because I hadn’t felt “put together” for a long, long time. I mean noticeably so. No matter how much I was lifting, I noticed Courtney just felt “heavy.” I’m not saying she’s fat so don’t go there! She’s not. It just felt awkward picking her up, like I was unglued.

Sunday was much, much, much different. And it hasn’t because I’ve been lifting heavy stuff. I haven’t lifted much of anything heavy lately (heavy is relative of course…). I’ve been focusing on fixing asymmetries, particularly a 21 year old shoulder asymmetry (try loading that puppy heavy for that long has left me with some issues) and everything’s been feeling great.

I even tested out this core stability thing last weekend on the platform. Hit 70% and 75% respectively of previous competition bests with ease (I used the power version of each lift, not the competition version). The last time I attempted this, I shut down around 60% which I don’t have to tell you was very, very discouraging.

So what can I make of this and what should you make of this?

Core stability is a real underlying fundamental reflexive pattern. It must be trained. Ignore it at your own risk. I did.

How would you know if you were lacking in core stability?

Well according the available research*, if you’ve ever had a lower back injury you’ve lost your reflexive pattern (the ability of your Transverse abdominus and multifidus muscles to contract to stabilize the spine before movement). Therefore you need to retrain it and re-integrate it into your movement patterns.

That’s about as far as I’m willing to go on the subject. There is a TON of information about core stability and lower back injuries and their correlation.  And by ton, literally thousands and thousands and thousands of pages. Stuart McGill’s works are a good place to look for in depth explanations.

The bottom line for me is this: I’m getting older. The sun is setting on my competitive hopes in my chosen sport. I won’t compete in the Masters division. I no longer have to be right. I am looking for the quickest way  to get where I am going – safely.

That’s why I turned to Brett and Gray and the FMS. Z just wasn’t doing it for me anymore.

Sure, there’s some really cool neurological information in there. And yes, for those of you who want to know, I think Z “works,” but only to a point. (I have some other theories about it I’m testing and working through which I’ll report back on in the future…) And yes, I use what I need to and feel is relevant with my clientele. And no, I don’t do much of it anymore because I have what I term hyper-localized global hyper-mobility. Mouthful – think about that for awhile…

But the major thing for me was that Dr Cobb, under my direct questioning, rejected the current theories on the Inner/Outer Unit and their roles in core stability. Therefore, it is not [sufficiently] addreessed/acknowledged in the Z-Health world.

I followed this theory.

It failed my tests, which was to lift heavy weights over my head.

I needed something else that worked for me.

And that’s how I ended up here writing this post.

Caveat emptor, my friends…

(*Hides et al. (1996). Spine. 21, 2763-2769. Hodges and Richardson (1996) Spine. 21, 2640-2650.)

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