For the sake of this important post, we’ll call the “engaging of your core,” the “locking down of your hip,” hollow body, “arched,” and the wedding of one’s spine to their hip the same thing. The term we will use is “mid-line stability.” Mid-line stability is a topic that is often under appreciated by students and an over used buzz word by coaches. This post seeks to create some clear ideas in your mind about arguably the most critical piece in human movement.
Well firstly, what is it? We’ll describe mid-line stability, not only by the aforementioned body positions and cues, but as one’s ability to unify the axial skeleton as a unit. Quality human movement often has an instance of mid-line stability as a common thread across all domains of sport and performance.
Great. But, what can it do for me? Connecting the joints of the spine and hip facilitates transfer of power. An athlete’s legs can do things independent of the arms, for example, while maintaining mid-line stability to transfer power from the floor into action in the arms and visa versa.
Great athletic performance from running, kicking, and throwing to inversions, jumping, and punching demonstrate quality control through the middle of the body. Complex motor skills, then, begin to combine rigid control of the spine and freedom through the extremities.
Study the images below. I’ve tried to collect a spectrum of human movement in elite level sport. The one common theme is denoted by the highlighted line, which indicates the athlete’s mid-line stability.
Gymnastics and weightlifting are some of the more obvious examples because we teach this lesson with those applications daily, but one could argue that throwing or change of direction are skills that demand as much midline stability as any. From a strong foundation in the center of the body (or “core”), the human body can become a system that can perform limitless tasks. If this foundation is lost or not engaged, there is poor communication across the system and a “leak” of systemic power.
From now on, I’d like you to pay close attention to how often mid-line stability is relevant in your training. Can you name a functional movement where mid-line stability is irrelevant?
Complete the following for reps:
One the first minute complete one front squat (115/75), on the second minute complete two front squats, and so on…
*If athlete doesn’t clear the 12th minute Run 1 mile immediately after elimination
**If athlete doesn’t clear the 15th minute Run 800M immediately after elimination
***If athlete doesn’t clear 19th minute Run 400M immediately after elimination