Beginner's Guide to Core Training - Part 3
Exercise • • 1 minute to read • By Pankaj Narsian, INFS Faculty
Author- Pankaj N, CSCS & INFS Faculty
To understand more about core training via other exercises such as isometric, dynamic and resistance training, continue reading. In the last part of the series on beginner's guide to core training, let's look at how movements such as isometric, dynamic and resistance exercises play a role in training the core.
Below is a suggested approach to begin the core training.
Stage I – Learn to breathe and brace, aka COACTIVATION EXERCISES such as bracing and pelvic floor movements, wherein many muscle groups activate simultaneously. Additionally, bracing is discussed here.
Stage II – Improve stability under loads using anti-flexion, anti-extension and anti-rotation movements, aka ISOMETRIC TRAINING, wherein the muscles tense. Still, no length change occurs in the core muscles. A few examples are exercises such as the plank, hip bridge, side plank, opposite arm, and leg lift.
The anti-movements are essential to improve the stabilization of the core. Enhanced stability allows the athlete to lock the spine and assist with proper bracing before executing movement and exercise. These movements form the base of athletic training irrespective of the sport. Additionally, it helps maintain postural stability and effective transfer of forces during kicking, running, throwing and hitting.
Anti-flexion exercises are where the core tries to resist flexion forces placed upon the spine by internal or external factors. For example, unsupported compound movements such as the squat and deadlift are great at building resistance towards withholding the spinal flexion under heavy loads.
Anti-extension exercises are efficient in core training since overhead movements form a considerable chunk of functional and sports-specific movements. Furthermore, training with anti-extension teaches the individual to maintain a neutral spine position despite heavy loads and not move into possibly hyperlordosis at the lumbar.
To execute the Dead Bug:
- Lie your back on the floor and bring the hips knee complex to 90 degrees.
- Raise the arms toward the ceiling, in line with your shoulders.
- Maintain a flat back on the floor, with little to no gap between the lumbar spine and the floor.
Take a breath in and take the right arm in the overhead position, simultaneously moving the left leg with total knee and hip extension.
Go back to the start position and repeat the movement. An athlete should aim to get 10-12 reps per side.
Anti-Lateral Flexion Exercises
While playing a sport and initiating change-of-direction, the spine will want to bend to the side as the shoulders sway outside the hips. However, it will drastically reduce the athlete's ability to quickly and efficiently change directions when this happens. Additionally, rotational instability in the spine places them at a higher risk of ankle, knee, and hip injury. Therefore, a coach must utilize anti-lateral flexion exercises to train the athlete's spine to resist bending to the side.
The side plank is a foundational exercise for strengthening anti-lateral flexion. The athlete tries to fight the gravitational force pulling the hips towards the floor. The sagging hips are a flaw seen when the spine bends to the side in an upright position.
To execute the Side Plank
- Stack the feet while lying sideways with the weight distributed across the forearm on the ground and the bottom foot.
- Engage the abdomen and contract the glutes before bringing the hips off the ground. Many times, individuals over arch their back in the side plank, which decreases the effectiveness of the exercise.
- The body should represent a diagonal straight line running from the shoulders to the foot during the plank.
- Practise the side plank for 30-60 consecutive seconds and breathe fully throughout the exercise. Then, repeat the activity on the other side.
To learn further, continue reading to the last part of the series.
- Reed, C.A., Ford, K.R., Myer, G.D. and Hewett, T.E., 2012. The effects of isolated and integrated ‘core stability’ training on athletic performance measures. Sports medicine, 42(8), pp.697-706.
- Cissik, J.M., 2011. The role of core training in athletic performance, injury prevention, and injury treatment. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 33(1), pp.10-15.
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