ACTIVCORE…. Versatile, Adaptable, Remarkable!

After introducing ActivCore to our studio in early January, we have been both amazed and swept away by how swiftly we are getting stronger, correcting bad habits, and seeing amazing results.  Our clients are seeing significant results too, and as more clients and instructors try ActivCore for the first time, two new questions are emerging:

1) Do you have to be really strong to do this?

2) How is ActivCore different from TRX??

We decided to answer both questions simultaneously, as they actually are interrelated. In a nutshell, the answer to the first question is a big “NO”! And in response to the second question, the two biggest difference between ActivCore and TRX are the following:

1) The Scientific Knowledge of Neuromuscular Activation (Neurac.)

2) The Bungees (See video Japanese PT.)

However, it’s not that simple.

For starters, ActivCore has a presence in three markets:

a) Rehabilitation (using the Neurac Technique)

b) Wellness/Pilates/Fitness

c) Athletic performance

In a rehabilitative setting, there is obviously no expectation of a certain strength level, and this extends to the Pilates and wellness applications as well. With ActivCore as well as Pilates, we can just as easily train someone who has very weak core strength as we can someone with a super strong core. TRX is comparable to ActivCore only in the area of athletic performance. Some of the exercises even look similar. Just after watching a few TRX exercises, you can see how the core is continually challenged by lifting the body’s own weight while combating multi-directional forces with the suspension system. There is no doubt that TRX practitioners will get SUPER strong, but it IS up to the user to know his/her own “edge,” and hopefully to know ahead of time whether he/she has the appropriate strength of any given exercise. With ActivCore, however, trainers have the luxury of a system that allows for off-weighting so that the right muscle is engaged in the right amount at the right time, with no risk for injury. Because of this, ActivCore will increase core and muscle strength (which will of course enhance athletic performance) while being mindful of limitations or weakness in any joint.

Refer to the chart below for the comparisons.



Multi-planar movement harnessing body’s own weight enhances core strength

Multi-planar movement harnessing body’s own weight enhances core strength

Workouts can be customized quickly by adjusting the system

Workouts can be customized quickly by adjusting the system

Able to isolate & stimulate impaired neuromuscular connections, usually stabilizing muscles

No applications for neuromuscular dysfunction

Bungees allow for “off-weighting”, which permits 100% pain free exercises while stimulating the target muscles

No off-weighting option available, and pain is often present if core muscles and stabilizers are not strong and functioning optimally

No risk for injury, as the muscles never hold more than their load threshhold and key stabilizers are activated for optimal results

Great risk for injury, as weakness may cause the load threshhold to be too low for a given exercise, and fear or neuromuscular dysfunction can cause the wrong muscles to engage

Movement targeted at the neuromuscular and physical level

Movement targeted at the physical level only

System includes tests to discover “weak links” in muscle chains

System not designed to include muscle impairment tests

ActivCore has spent the past 10 years specifically developing a technique that, combined with the Redcord tools, is able to isolate and stimulate impaired neuromuscular connections, usually in stabilizer muscles. TRX is not designed to nor has the scientific research behind it to do this. While it may get into some closed kinetic chain exercises, it is extremely limited in the loading and unloading compared to the bungee, and it does not feature an application for neuromuscular dysfunction.

So How Do these Bungees work?

The bungee itself allows any patient or client to do these exercises or stimulate the specific muscles in a pain free environment by un-weighting themselves. Once they isolate the specific muscle and do the exercise pain free, they immediately begin stimulating the brain to fire those muscles again. Then they can continue their progression to strengthen that restored neuromuscular connection even more. We have heard through the grapevine that the TRX can and has actually hurt people if their core strength and joint stabilizers are not strong enough to perform the exercises. With the ActivCore system of Redcord, the bungees to make it very easy and pain free, eventually strengthening the body (both physically and on a neuromuscular level) to the point where it doesn’t need the bungees anymore. Moreover, the muscle imbalance tests which are part of the ActivCore system allow the instructor to assess the weak links and thus choose exercises to restore and strengthen the weak or dormant muscle on a neuromuscular level, so now those stabilizers are firing at 100% instead of 40%, for example.

For more about the scientific knowledge of neuromuscular activation (Neurac):

Neurac is an innovative stabilization exercise and muscle activation therapy technique developed in Norway. Experience in 22 countries is a testament to the effectiveness of Neurac in the identification of muscle imbalances and activation of deep stabilizing muscles to restore core stability and address a wide range of neuromuscular dysfunctions. The Neurac technique utilizes highly specialized Redcord equipment and its unique and highly effective because it allows trained professionals to evaluate core and joint instability in clients of ability levels and facilitate precisely graded stabilizing exercises that activate and strengthen weak or inactive muscles, restore proper function, and reduce muscle pain or discomfort.

It’s no wonder that the Pilates world has embraced ActivCore with open arms!!! ActivCore is AMAZING at filling in the gaps that Pilates leaves, which makes Pilates and ActivCore so complementary. ActivCore is a fabulous addition to Pilates on Fifth, and to any Pilates studio! For information about ActivCore certification in New York, email or 212-687-8885. Outside New York? Email




January 28, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . ACTIVCORE®, Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings.

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