Often we associate a strong “core” with 6 pack abs. While these things can be similar, they are not necessarily the same. Having “6 pack abs” is usually more a result of having a very low body fat.
A strong core is however, is about the muscles surrounding the spine working together to “brace” the spine against compression, shear and hoop (circular/ twisting) forces. Some of these are not just 6 pack muscles like the rectus abdominus. But also the lats, obliques, transverse abdominus, spinal errectors and even glutes. A strong, stable, core is protective of the low back, improves posture and sports performance by facilitating the most effective transfer of force from the extremities through the body.
These 3 exercises will revolutionize your core training and bring you out of the dark ages of crunches and sit-ups and into 2016.
- Maintain a stable base, feet slightly greater than hip width and “rooted” (solid foot pressure through the heels) into the floor, toes straight ahead.
- Hips pushed back slightly.
- Soft, slightly bent, knees.
- Shoulders down.
- Ribcage in neutral on the abs.
- Create a straight line through the crotch, belt buckle, belly button, sternum (between the nipples) and chin.
The most important aspect of the Palloff Press is to focus on maintaining tension through the body and resisting movement through the core.
Stir The Pot:
- Start in a plank position, abs tight, shoulders in the joint and glutes squeezed.
- The pressure on the ball should be with the forearms. Not by digging the elbows on the ball.
- Don’t allow the hips or shoulders to drop, rotate or shift during the movement.
- Focus on creating tight, even circles with ball.
Maintaining tension through the core the entire time, never relax between revolutions of the ball. Make sure you do an equal number of rotations in both directions.
- Start in a tall, “pillar” position. The ribcage, and hips in neutral. Shoulder in the joint.
- Stay tall, no leaning, spine neutral the whole time.
- Crush the bell.
- Neither the arm or bell should rest on the body.
- Keep your steps to a normal or slightly shorter length so you stay “under” the hips.
Like the other exercises the focus of the suitcase carry is creating tightness through the core and resisting twisting or bending of the spine.
Next time you’re training your core, try these and remember the focus of all of them should never be how long you can hold them or how many reps you can do. Instead focus on creating tightness and never allowing the “core” to move. You’ll be amazed at how these exercises will revolutionize your training, strengthen your core and improve your performance, posture and back pain.
Featured photo credit: Anti-Rotational Drills (Pallof Press) via youtube.com