By Lorne Goldenberg BPE, CSCS, CEP
In sport and daily life, one of the most important movements that the body generates is rotation around the spine, also referred to as movement in the transverse plane. Athletes who have great rotational movement and strength generally are recognized as powerful athletes. The Tasmanian Devil, Bugs Bunny’s predator, possesses such rotational strength that he can actually bore deep into the ground on command. It is his advanced nervous system that allows him to do this, one that all athletes would like to posses. Taz’s powerful rotation like movement could benefit many different sports, a few examples would be:
- Baseball – The pitch, the swing of the back
- Hockey – The slap shot
- Football – The battle of the linemen
- Tennis – The serve
- Golf – The swing
In daily life we also have many instances of rotation about the spine:
- Getting out of a car
- Moving groceries from the cart to the car
- Racking leaves
- Taking out the garbage
These are but just a few examples of rotation about our spine. From an anatomical perspective the trunk and torso transfer and stabilize all forces generated by the upper and lower body musculature in many planes and angles. So the core of our body must contribute to force generation and the transfer of forces throughout our body. This is very important in sports where an implement like a bat or stick is being utilized.
We as humans must take advantage of our “anatomical trains”, as described by Thomas Myers as the front and back functional lines. As you can see from the two diagrams below, in the front of our body there is a definite line that connects our core to our lower body, and not only is it a mechanical linkage, but there is also muscle fiber orientation for that direction of movement. This is very apparent in the line of pull for the external obliques on the right side of the body and the adductors on the left side. Similarly in the back this can be seen from the left latissimus dorsi and the right gluteal.