(I can fight with my shirt off because I did the core exercises in this blog post!)
The last part of this series is going to cover the “core.” Is that word taboo? I guess it is better than saying, “Yo man, I am going to do abs today.”
Now let’s be a bit more specific than just saying, “core.” When that is mentioned we are usually referring to
- Rectus Abdominis
- Transverse Abdominis
- Internal/External obliques
- Serratus (anterior/posterior)
I will tell you straight up, yes, there are other muscles that are considered part of the core. Personally, I would even add on the lats, psoas, and quadratus lumborum. But for the sake of keeping this blog post under 5,000 words, I am going to stick to the big boys.
(The core musculature really is built like a bulletproof vest. Multiple layers of protection)
(Just so you can visualize the QL and psoas’ part in the core discussion. See the attachments at the lumbar spine.)
Now our goal when it comes to training the core is to resist flexion, extension, and rotation. Because we have multiple goals here, it is necessary to train the core with multiple movements. I am going to outline a few of my favorites, they are by no means the whole arsenal that I use with my clients and myself, but it is a good place to start.
One last thing I will say here, don’t be afraid to play around in the gym with cable stations, bands, and other equipment to train the core. Who knows, you could be the next John Pallof (of Pallof Press fame).
1. Band Resisted Rollouts (Anti Extension)
Rollouts are the cats pajamas (that is a good thing for those that have not seen School of Rock). At some point, after you can do 20 rollouts, you need to progress them. The best way I have found to do that is with some super bands. Simply attach the super bands to a DB rack (or have someone hold them) and knockout the rollouts. The variable resistance of the bands really get the job done and will leave you wincing as you roll out of bed the next morning.
I will address the whole standing rollouts thing. I don’t like them. Why? Because there are too high risk on the shoulders. You have to have some amazing shoulder stability to keep your pecs and lats from exploding and your face from eating the floor.
2. Prone Plate Switches (Anti Rotation)
This is one that I learned from Eric Cressey a few years ago. It is a plank progression that will require you to keep your hips from rotating. Give them a shot with some 5lb plates or some 2.5lb plates if you have them. Do all the reps on one side, then continue to bring the plates back to the starting point with the opposite hand.
3. Band Anti rotation Press (Anti Rotation)
A variation of the anti rotation press (or the Pallof Press) should be in every program. For the sake of this blog post I decided to go with the band resisted anti rotation press for two reasons. 1. It can be done anywhere. 2. The beautiful variable resistance. See with the band anti rotation press, the load is greatest at the end of concentric portion of the press (keep in mind that the core movement is isometric, for the most part). Just trust me, give it a shot and see for yourself.
Bonus: Feet Supported Side Plank
I learned of this when I started working at Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning. Just doing 20 second holds is brutal!!!