We have all seen trends come and go in the fitness industry – each promising to be the ultimate training method. Two concepts that have more recently received attention in the fitness industry are core training and specificity.
Core training is strengthening focused on the muscles around the pelvis (front, back and side). Research has demonstrated that improving core fitness reduces the chance of an injury, improves recovery following an injury and improves performance.
Specificity means that the more similar an exercise is to the sport you are training for the more likely your performance will improve. If you want to run faster you have to – run fast. Or if you want to be a great snowshoe racer you have to spend lots of time in the snow. Unfortunately, not all of our bodies can tolerate the impact of running nor do we have unlimited access to those snowy trails.
Supplemental training that strengthens your core and is specific to your sport will give you the most bang for your buck or results for your effort!
Consider kettlebell training. Kettlebells are weights that are shaped like a cannon ball with a handle. Russians have used kettlebells for over a hundred years with an impressive collection of world record performances. Kettlebells are just now gaining popularity in the United States.
So what’s the hype? The handle on kettlebells increases angular momentum during swinging motions, which magnifies the training effect; creating an incredibly dynamic training approach. Running and snowshoe racing are very dynamic sports. Every step you take requires your legs and trunk to rapidly and dynamically adapt to the terrain and then drive forward.
Performing exercises with a kettlebell will improve your strength, balance, core fitness and responsiveness. The perfect training approach to put you ahead of the pack as you charge up the slopes.
ProMotion has recently developed the first DVD specifically for running athletes (yes, snowshoe racers) with selected exercises specific to running and emphasizing core strengthening. Visit http://betterrunner.com/products/kettlebell.htm for a peek at this DVD.