Beginner's Guide to Core Training - Part 4
Exercise • • 1 minute to read • By Pankaj Narsian, INFS Faculty
Author- Pankaj N, CSCS & INFS Faculty
The last part in the isolation exercise series includes the most important movement for effective sports performance.
Anti-rotation exercises are the ones that teach the core to resist rotation places via lateral resistance forces. A stable body is necessary to efficiently transfer forces between the upper and lower limbs.
For example, the Pallof Press is an excellent exercise that an athlete can do with a resistance band or cable machine. Assume a tall kneeling, half kneeling, regular or split stance position. The goal is to resist the band's rotation during the press and stabilize the core against rotation.
To execute the Pallof Press.
- Start with a cable (or band) at chest height. Stand sideways to the resistance and bring the handle to the center of the chest.
- Before pressing out, make sure you are stable and engage the abdominal.
- Maintain stance hip-width apart (or slightly wider), and your hips barely hinged.
- Press the cable straight out from your chest, never letting the line deviate from a straight path.
The cable's resistance forces the body to rotate the hips and spine during the set. The athlete must resist the force and maintain a firm ground. Then, go back to the start position and repeat the movement. An athlete should aim to get 10-12 reps per side.
- Stage III – Strengthen the musculature using flexion, extension and lateral flexion movements by performing DYNAMIC TRAINING. The muscles shorten and lengthen to cause or control the action. Ultimately requiring the spine, hips, and pelvis movement, such as crunch, curl-up, back extension, lateral flexion, and trunk rotation.
Flexion exercises involve using the weight of the upper and lower body acted by gravity as resistance against the movement. The action can be done in two ways, first locking the knees in a bent position and then focusing on curling the chest towards the knee. The second method involves locking the upper body and curling the lower body towards the chest.
To do a crunch:
- Lie down on your back with feet on the floor, hip-width apart.
- Flex your knees and place your arms behind the head or across the chest.
- Breathing plays a vital role, so exhale while lifting the upper body. Ensure that the neck and head are in a neutral position.
- Slowly return to the start while inhaling.
Be careful not to strain the neck while performing the movement. Many individuals tend to pull the neck into flexion with force, increasing the risk for neck injuries.
Extension exercises also involve using the weight of the upper and lower body acted by gravity as resistance against the movement. Let's discuss the steps to execute a basic variation of the back extension while lying on the floor. Some of the gyms may have a specific machine to train the back like back extension and reverse hyper machine.
To practise an extension on floor:
- Make the athlete lie on a mat with the stomach facing the floor.
- Keep the shoulders in a neutral position and look towards the mat. Place the elbows on the ground.
- Initiate the movement by lifting the upper back and pressing the hips into the mat. Keep your head and neck neutral. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.
- Lower the body safely back into the starting position.
- Complete 3 sets.
- Put your hands on the floor underneath your shoulders for a deeper stretch. You can also make it more challenging by placing your hands against your body.
Lateral flexion exercises
Lateral flexion exercise helps to improve functional mobility during everyday activities. The dumbbell side bend is an easy exercise to begin. With practice and proper form, dumbbell side-bends can strengthen the lateral flexion of your spine.
To do Dumbbell Side Bends
Stand straight as if looking at yourself in the mirror, aka tall posture shoulders over the hips. Maintain a neutral head and neck position. Standing stance should be shoulder- or hip-width apart with a slight bend at the knee, just shy of lock.
Hold a dumbbell on the right side, arm completely extended (straight arm) with palms facing the body and left side be firm by placing the hand behind the head.
Brace the core, and create tension in the shoulders and hips. All repetitions should begin from this starting position.
Start bending the spine to the left with the rest of the body still. Do not force the movement and move only to your natural range of motion potential.
Go back to the starting position for another repetition.
Repeat for the desired number of repetitions and then switch sides.
Stage IV – Power up using RESISTANCE TRAINING with the big lifts wherein high load exercises are performed at high speeds, aka clean and jerk, snatch, deadlift and squat.
Training with the big lifts requires high stability under heavy loads. This training stage requires learning from all the previous topics to be put together and then initiated. Breathing and bracing is the first important step before starting the lift. So is the isometric strength of the core to avoid flexion or extension during the movement. To know more about the execution of these lifts, refer to the suggested reading articles below.
Kindly go through all the series articles to improve your understanding of core training.
- 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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