Today’s post is building on the last one on pulsing. To recap, pulsing is a brief, but intense, core contraction to allow a strong force transfer through the spine for fast movements in sports, such as striking, throwing, or jumping. Read last post to learn about how to pulse your core. Today’s post covers learning to coordinate pulsing and then applying pulsing to your sport.
To train coordinating the pulse, you’ll need something to swing. You can use a long stick like a broomstick or put a ball/sand/whatever in one end of large bag and tie that section off (essentially forming a weight attached to a rope). With either of these objects, you’re going to do a continuous swinging pattern. With the stick, you’ll be swinging it behind your head – look up Indian club swinging for a video of this pattern. With the bag swing, you’ll just be swinging it over your head like a helicopter. With both of these patterns, the end of your object will be tracing a large circle so you can imagine that circle is a clock face. Pick a random number on the clock (like 2 o’clock) and every time you hit that point, pulse your core. Practice going around 5-10 times to begin, striving for consistency right at your designated time. This will help you coordinate your pulse with movement. To begin, just do a few sets with a different time to pulse each set. Once you’ve mastered that, you can then pick 2 different times to pulse in the cycle, like at 2 o’clock and 8 o’clock.
Once you’ve mastered coordinating pulsing, you can use it with any movement. Some power-based movements to train with could be sledgehammer swings, medicine ball throws into the wall or ground, or fast weight-based movements like the Olympic lifts, thrusters, etc.
Now for application to your sport. Once you’ve gotten good control, applying the pulse to your sport is relatively straightforward. Just practice the movement with a pulse timed to occur just before contact so that your core is engaged strongly as you make contact. You’ll know you’re doing it right because you’ll feel like you’re hitting the sweet spot or in the groove – you suddenly generate much greater force (ie. the ball goes farther) without feeling like you’re swinging harder. Now you just need to practice your different swings/strokes/movements to learn how to apply the correctly timed pulse to each and eventually make it automatic.