5 exercise videos that will help to Improve your core Strength
ASSESS AND IMPROVE YOUR CORE STRENGTH
POWER TRANSFER FROM LOWER TO UPPER EXTREMITIES, STABILIZE THE SPINE, FLEX AND EXTEND THE SPINE, ASSIST IN PULLING AND PUSHING MOVEMENTS, ASSIST IN POSTURAL ALIGNMENT, AND PROVIDE PROTECTION TO INTERNAL ORGANS ALL OF WHICH ARE INCLUDED BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO THE FUNCTIONS OF THE MUSCULATURE OF THE CORE. WITH THAT SAID I THINK IT IS SAFE TO SAY THAT THE CORE IS AN EXTREMELY DYNAMIC GROUP OF MUSCLES. WHETHER IT BE WALKING, LIFTING WEIGHT, OR REACHING UP TO GRAB SOMETHING, EVERY MOVEMENT PRODUCED BY THE HUMAN BODY IS FIRST INITIATED FROM THE CORE.
In my previous blog on the core I mentioned how important it is to train all functions of the core to limit compensation patterns and dysfunction. Although I provided you with some good brain food on anatomy and how the core functions, I did not necessarily give you much on what to do yourself to train these various functions in my last blog. So I am back with a vengeance, and the following videos and explanations are tools you can include in your training to keep your core functioning on all cylinders! Enjoy!
Standard Manual Muscle Test Assessment for your Rectus Abdominus
The rectus abdominus has a tendency to get over trained in individuals that use complex ab routines that have high volume spinal flexion exercises. Because of this, the function of the rectus abdominus can decrease and the actual recruitment in flexion exercises of the rectus abdominus can lessen over time. This assessment is a simple test that allows you to see just how much you can isolate and recruit your rectus abdominis muscle without compensation from other core muscles.
The goal of the exercise is to isolate and use your rectus abdominis muscle to flex the spine and raise the torso and shoulder blades off the ground. The first variation shown is the simplest progression. From there, as the arms move closer to the head, the lever arm and center of mass created by the arms makes the rectus abdominis have to work progressively harder. If you are able to recruit your abdominis and get your shoulder blades off the ground in that last progression, it is safe to say you have a pretty strong and functional abdominis.. for now! However, if you cannot raise your shoulder blades off the ground in the middle and last progression, that is an observation that you need to start incorporating some different core exercises in your routine to help with the function of your rectus abdominis.
Anti core work- Anti-rotation- Anti-Lateral Flexion- Anti-extension
As stated above the core functions to stabilize the spine. In ground based exercises such as the squat, deadlift, lunge, overhead press, etc, the core produces abdominal pressure to compress the spine and protect it from the force being generated. Without this protection your spine would collapse like jelly if you tried to do a squat. The core must be able to fight force from all planes of motion: Frontal, sagittal, transverse planes. Anti core work allows for you to train this function in all planes of motion.
The anti rotation exercise shown in the video is a rotary paloff variation. This exercise stresses the core in the transverse plane and forces the athlete to stabilize the spine while staying square. Staying square is important during all anti core work to ensure that proper alignment of the muscles allows for proper force distribution. Lock in.
Anti Lateral Flexion is an exercise that stresses the core to stabilize the spine in the frontal plane.
Anti Extension is an exercise that stresses the core to stabilize the spine in the sagittal plane while also promoting a posterior pelvic tilt. This particular exercise is great for individuals that live in an overly extended position caused by an anterior pelvic tilt. Each of these exercises can be performed with a band of light tension and can be performed standing as shown in the video, or kneeling on one knee or two knees down.
Flexed hip plate raise
This exercise is a rectus abdominus focused movement. It is spinal flexion that is being performed in this exercise. Yes I know what I said about spinal flexion exercises but in this exercise the hips are in a neutral position which allows for the rectus abdominis to function and strengthen without putting stress on the back. By flexing the hips and sucking the belly in to create a flat back against the ground, the rectus abdominus is forced to by recruited. It is important that when performing this exercise that the athlete raises the plate straight up to the sky and not downward towards the feet. This simple cue is the difference between compensation and recruitment. Do it right!!