When it comes to moving weight and i'm talking HEAVY weight you must create proximal satability in order to ignitiate optimal force production. A loose core uder a loaded bar can only equate to a disaster, as an athlete you must learn proper "bracing" mechanics in order to achieve success in the lift! Phil Daru, BS Sports Medicine, Strength Conditioning Coach
For years people have been trying to work their "core" with single leg bosu ball squats, balance board surfing and my personal favorite CRUNCHES.. Those are the same people that cannot squat their own bodyweight. If you ask the top powerlifters, weightlifters, and strongman in the world I gaurentee you that they are not at LA Fitness doing a handstand on a stability ball. Dont get me wrong a stabiliy ball and plank exercises have their place but its not the end all be all of a full core stability or bracing strategy to optimize performance. Keys to learning how to properly stabilize the core and brace the spine is 1) learning how to "breath through your diaphram" aka breath through your balls, 2) contract your transverse abdominal wall "brace like your going to get kicked in the gut", 3) retract Scapula and Latissmus Dorsi muscles while keeping thoracic from over extention. All major movements especially under heavy load must create stability in order to protect the vertebra from being damaged. This is a skill that must be acquired with not only athletes but ordinary people as well. Learning how to brace while picking your children up or getting up off the toilet can protect you from having problems in the future or possibly injuring yourself through bad biomechanics. Back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide according to the Global Burden Of Disease 2010, and is the second reason for most common visits to the doctor's office. Americans in general spend about $50 billion each year on back pain treatment. What most people dont know is that this can be helped by strengthening the core, and posterior chain through proper bracing with core weightlifting exercises. Now i'm not saying that improper bracing while lifting is the only cause of back pain some are caused by distal trauma that through off mobilty creating a change in movement patterns your body became accustom to, but this also brings me back to my original statement with proximal stability comes distal mobility. "Spine power results from force multiplied by velocity. To mitigate risk, spine power must be low. If the load is high, then velocity, or spine movement, must be low." (Dr. Stuart Mcgill) Doctor of Spine Biomechanics at the University of Waterloo. Now that you have an idea of bracing and proper core stabilization im going to link a short video of how to brace while performing a lift or power movement, create an iron sheath around your rib cage and be ready to move weight all while keeping your spine safe and healthy.
For years salt or sodium in general has been looked down upon. Most people believe that salt will induce high cholesterol with water retention and even chances of stroke, but this is false in all actuality you must consume salt to maintain proper hydration and electrolyte balance. For athletes this is a vital source of recovery and performace, especially when sweating during activity. Sodium helps drive water into the muscle to help rehydrate the tissue preventing cramping and aid in recovery from intense training. I hear all the time about athletes trying to cut their salt and water to make a weight class, this can be disastress to performance when time to compete. When you fully cut out the sodium you are draining the muscle of hydration. When you go to cut out water your body and power output will be completely flat, resulting in weakness and lethargy. I have been cutting weight and helping athletes cut weight for almost a decade, when I see these men and women cut there sodium out completely their performance suffers and their recovery is relatively slower. Water and sodium work hand and hand to fully expand and hydrate the muscle making it more explosive and powerful. I usually tell my athletes to take in about a 4-8g per gallon of water a day.
150lb> = 1 Gallon of water = 8G of Sea Salt or Iodized Salt
150-200lb = 1.5 Gallon of water = 12G of Sea Salt or Iodized Salt
200< = 2 Gallon of water = 16G of Sea Salt or Iodized Salt
Salt in my opinion is better then creatine, and caffeine combined for maximum performance and recovery this is a must. As long as your drinking enough water and you are training on a consistent basis get your salt in.
Here are some videos that help reinerate my argument!
ACE Certified personal Trainer, Bodybuilding and Powerlifting Athlete, Former Professional MMA fighter, Nutrition Specialist