A stronger, more defined core, starts with these abs exercises.
Any athlete can tell you how important a strong core is to remaining healthy and performing basic movements optimally. Unfortunately, many coaches simply do not understand what the true meaning of “core training” is or how it effects athletic performance.
True core training should help stabilize and brace the spine for an explosive movement. Too often I see coaches performing core exercises, like spinal flexion, spinal extension and lumbar rotation that will only hinder, or hurt, performance on the field. These types of exercises are dangerous because they require movement at the lumbar spine, and when it comes to core training, the lumbar spine is not designed for rotation, but instead for stability.
In order to train the core probably, let’s first look at the role core plays in athletic performance so that we can target it in a true athlete workout. The core redistributes force throughout the body, which is critical to staying healthy and durable. The core also redirects force. To illustrate what it means to redirect force, imagine the baseball swing - the hips and thighs generate power, and the core transmits this power and redirects it to the ball, (assuming you actually make good contact!). This same example can be applied to the pitching motion. While the pitcher is going through his windup, the legs and hips are generating the power and the core transmits this power throughout the body and redirects it.
Thus, it’s safe to say that if a player has a weak core, they’ll be limited in their ability to maximize hitting power and throwing velocity. It doesn’t stop here. The core’s ability to transmit power generated from the legs throughout the body is critical to sprinting, jumping and other athletic movements.
I’d hope you now understand why core training must be about more than doing foo-foo abdominal exercises. Without a strong and powerful core, you’ll never be able to transmit the power and force your legs generate properly.
So, let’s get into how you can start incorporating properly core training into your program. I like Mike Robertson’s approach, who wrote a great article about the true meaning of core training. He believes core training can be divided into anti-extension exercises, anti-rotation exercises, hip flexion with a neutral spine, and anti-lateral flexion. With that in mind let’s break down the exercises that fit into each one of these categories so you can experience the effect that true core training has on athletic performance.
This category includes exercises where you are resisting hip extension
This category includes exercises where you are resisting lateral flexion
This category includes any exercises where you are resisting rotation
Hip Flexion With Neutral Spine:
These are the hardest exercises to perform because your hips will want to tuck under and your lower back will want to round. Proceed with caution! Just give the video below from Mike Robertson a look and you should get it immeadiately.
This new laundry list of exercises will take your core training, and your athletic performance, to the next level. But don’t take my word for it. Give the crunches and weighted situps a break, give these a try, and report back to me after you’ve developed the very core strength you’ve been searching for.
In addition to these ab exercises above, 1R would recommend the following supplements after your abdominal workouts: