Gray Cook: Core Stability, Compensation and Breathing

Lacking core stability? Then you’re likely down on power. Here’s how Gray Cook discerns if it’s a breathing sequence problem.

Now, do me a favor and . . . don’t hurt me. Can you kick about head high?

All right. You need a pretty good core for that, whereas he got a D minus on his core. He’s got a lot more kicks in him at that speed or he’s got a greater speed kick.

When he’s kicking, where is he getting his power?

From the leg in the air or the one on the ground? How does the one on the ground get its horsepower to the one in the air? It’s got to run up this leg, through the core and back down to that leg.

When you punch, where’s the power coming from? It’s still coming from the floor.

Every piece of power he’s got either comes up one leg, through the core, and acquisition to the other leg or up the back foot, through the core, and to the fist. Everything you’ve got is going through your weakest link right now, and you have to compensate. You have to bring a lot more prime mover into your kick because your stabilizer isn’t there.

It could be a breathing sequence problem, but this is what I often see: we lay down into a breathing session and you feel fine but your push-up didn’t get better. The breathing session I’m interested in will have a corrective load on his push-up.

We may teach him how to bear crawl or plank or do a half-getup with a kettlebell but the whole time, every time he’s in that plank compromise, I’ll ask “how are you breathing?” “How are you breathing?” “How are you breathing?” I’m going to be on it so I’m going to approach breathing, but specifically where his movement tells me it’s the worst.

This is different than just doing a breathing session, which is extremely liberating if you’re stressed out but it isn’t going to change his push-up. I’ve got to take him to his biggest movement compromise and watch the breathing mistakes there. Then, we’re going to attack them right there where he can truly appreciate that.

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