Complete Core Fitness
Not that it has to said, but Mike Robertson is kind of a big deal. Even though he and I are relatively the same age, and I consider him one of my good friends, I’ve looked up to him as someone whom I greatly respect and admire in this industry for quite some time, and he’s undoubtedly been a huge influence my career as a trainer and coach.
So, as you can imagine, when he asked me whether or not I’d be interested in reviewing his latest product, Complete Core Fitness, I was like, “dude, does Dolly Parton sleep on her back?” of course I’ll review it!
Now, lets be honest: there are a million and one different fitness products out there involving “core training” that are typically marketed to help people get hawt abz. I don’t think one person reading right now can say they haven’t read some article on the homepage of Yahoo promising a lean, svelt mid-section in a matter of minutes per day, or witnessed for themselves all the cheesy infomercials on late night television.
As an example, just the other day, I saw that they’ve re-introduced a new, and completely redesigned Ab Roller. Great! Just what people who sit in flexion all day need……….an exercise that promotes more flexion!
It’s the closest I’ve ever come to throwing up since I saw Madonna’a arms.
So, by now you’re probably wondering what separates Complete Core Fitness from all the other similar products out there.
Well, here’s the thing: THERE ARE NO SIMILAR PRODUCTS OUT THERE.
Mike is a coach’s coach. I’m sure his mid-Western drawl comes into play, but whatever it is, he has an uncanny ability to take complex material and water it down into an easy to follow format, which is something not many people can pull off. And this is certainly no exception.
Mike not only covers his philosophy on core training – which just so happens to coincide with many of my thoughts as well – but he also covers the functional anatomy, which is something that many fitness professionals (and regular Joe’s) often dismiss. In addition, Mike also includes sections on assessment, as well as his four “stages” of core training. All told, we’re looking at SEVEN webinar modules, for three hours of total content covering everything you’d ever need to know about the core.
While I certainly can’t go over everything that’s covered, here are a few bullet points that I took away that really hit home for me:
- When talking about “functional anatomy,” we need to get out of the textbook mindset – especially when discussing the core. Take the gluteal muscles for instance. When asked what their main function is, most would say: hip extension, hip abduction, and hip external rotation. While not wrong, Mike noted that we need to stop thinking in a concentric only mindset. Taking a more REAL WORLD mindset, the gluteals also resist or control the OPPOSITE motion (hip flexion, adduction, and internal rotation).
- The “core” can really be thought of as a box. At the top you have the diaphragm. As the bottom you have the pelvic floor. And to the front and back, you have the abs and erectors, respectively. This can be thought of as your muscle weight belt.
- When discussing the core, you can’t omit the diaphragm. This is something we’re paying a lot more attention to at Cressey Performance, but Mike does an awesome job at discussing the importance of what proper diaphragm alignment has on creating IAP (Intra Abdominal Pressure). Moreover, he also discusses the concept of Zone of Apposition and how having a left rib flare can be a HUGE detriment to core function.
- Since the “to crunch or not to crunch” debate has recently been reignited, Mike takes some time to explain that he’s still not conviced that crunches are the way to go. He discusses what’s called a top down vs. a bottoms up approach. Crunches = top down. Meaning, when you perform a crunch, you shorten the core in order to gain stability. In Mike’s eyes (and mine), this isn’t a good idea. Contrarily, by taking more of a bottoms up approach – where you learn to control pelvic positioning – this is what most trainees need to focus on.
- In terms of assessment, Mike uses both a static and dynamic approach – taking into consideration both quantitative (back extension, front plank, side plank holds) and qualitative (push-ups) data.
And finally, Mike breaks down his core training into four distinct stages:
- Foundational Stability – working on breathing patterns, as well as promoting a neutral spine and pelvis.
- Isolative Core – bringing up specific weak links
- Integrated Core – bringing this back together and rebuilding movement patterns
- Sports/Performance Specific – making people ninjas
What’s cool is that Mike doesn’t necessarily separate these into four distinct parts. Meaning, these aren’t train stops, where you have to complete phase one before you move on to phase two, and so on and so forth. Rather, he takes a more “organic” approach where someone may intergrate certain components of foundational stability along with movements that are specific to his or her sport (performance based).
And that, really, is just the tip of the iceberg. I’m not exaggerating when I say that Complete Core Fitness is arguably the most comprehensive product on the topic out there today. Whether you’re an athlete looking to improve his or her performance, someone who’s sick and tired of suffering from chronic back pain, or a fitness professional looking to take their knowledge base to the next level, you’d be shooting yourself in the foot not to at least check it out.
I’d act quickly, though. The introductory price of $97 (which includes FOUR sweet bonuses) only lasts from today (Tuesday) until THIS FRIDAY (10/7) until midnight.