The Serape – connecting with core power

Ok so the human flag is a bit of stunt, sort of like a one armed handstand it’s not so much “functional” as it is fun. What feats of movement require more than anything else is a strong co-ordinated core. A core that is both stable to efficiently translate the force of contra laterally moving limbs and has the ability to rotate to extend power to the limbs.

The smartest athletic trainers are always seeking better ways to create useful resistance in 3 dimensions to resist the types of motions that are used to throw, to swing, to strike, to kick, to run, to stop, to change direction.

Anchored resistance is far more useful than gravity for creating the appropriate resistances for transverse plane training. The versatility of the different resistance angles is made even more useful by different connections.

Connecting directly to the body to train the core makes a tremendous amount of sense and is called “Serape” training”, after the Serape effect. ( Wikipedia entry on this below).

The idea is to loop an anchored strap or resistance band on one shoulder to create directly connected asymmetric resistance across the body. This can be done from both the front or the back. There is all kinds of potential to improve athletic power with this approach. The stability of a core strengthened contra laterally pays off with a more efficient gait, improved rotational strength translates into more power for athletic demands  like throwing, striking, kicking and swinging. The direct connection to the shoulder allows for resistance to be directly applied to these powerful muscles from many useful dimensions.

Look for more training videos illustrating this approach coming to soon !


From Wikipedia – Serape effect


The term serape originates from a piece of clothing worn by people of Latin-American countries, also known by the same name. A serape is a brightly colored blanket which hangs around the shoulders and crosses diagonally across the anterior portion of the trunk. The general direction of how a serape is worn is similar to the direction of the pull of four muscles in the same area. The serape effect is this group of four muscles working together to produce an opposition of the rib cage and pelvis in the wind-up of a motion, and finally generate a large summation of internal forces from the snap-back. The serape effect is prevalent in ballistic motions like throwing, kicking and swinging.[1]

Muscles involved

The rhomboids, serratus anterior, external obliques, and internal obliques are involved in the serape effect.[2]

Sport significance

The serape effect is important in throwing motions and motions that involve the rotation of the torso that have a high velocity (Northrip, Logan, McKinney, 1974). This includes ballistic motions such as with throwing a discus or javelin. The transverse rotation of the pelvic girdle prior to a ballistic throwing motion is important for creating a higher velocity in the direction of the motion. Without this pelvic girdle rotation prior to the ballistic movement then the pelvis will recoil and there will not be as a great of a velocity to the upper body during the ballistic motion because of a lack of stretching of the muscles and a lack of energy built up to contribute to the movement. The rotational movement of this larger body segment, the trunk, enables a summation of internal forces that is able to be transferred from this large area to a smaller area as such as the arm and the hand for throwing an object.[3] The serape effect can also be applied to kicking by transferring these forces from the trunk and pelvis to the lower legs.[4] For a throwing motion when the throwing limb is diagonally abducted and laterally rotated then the rib cage and pelvis should be at their farthest distance apart, which allows for a maximal amount of stretch in the muscles involved in the serape effect. This maximum point of stretching of the muscles lengthens the muscles so that when the throw takes place the muscles create a maximum amount of force as they shorten back to a resting length. “Muscles must be placed on their longest length in order to exert their greatest force”.[5]