Boost Your Core Strength With Variety
July 8, 2011
Last week we featured boxing/kickboxing, lateral motion training, pushups and squats/lunges as examples of exercise/activities which require core strength and improve core strength.
The core engages, creating the bracing, stabilization and torso movement, when appropriate, that is required during these exercises/activities when performed safely and effectively. As mentioned in last week’s column, many sports require a strong core and improve the core strength in a variety of ways. However, not everyone is able to participate in such activities, so included below are exercises/activities that the vast majority of people are able to master. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
Standing Tethered High/Low Rows with Resistive Tubing or Multi-Gym – in order to remain stable in this exercise, you must first engage the core bracing the body so it will not move during the exercise. The goal is to isolate the latissimus dorsi during this exercise; therefore, you want to avoid any movement other than the rowing initiated from the scapula.
Agility Ladder – think of walking/running tires when you walk/run the length of the agility ladder initiating the movement from your hip flexors so that the knees lift high with each block of the ladder. The higher the knees lift, the more the core must engage to keep the body stable and erect.
Planks/Bridges/Asymmetry – either modified or full planks/bridges/asymmetry are very effective at strengthening the core when performed safely and effectively. Always progress slowly from modified positions prior to performing more advanced positions so that you never compromise your lumbar spine.
Knee/squats or Abduction/squats performed from a step platform, BOSU Balance Trainer or Step Pro 360 – due to the stability required to lift the outside leg into a knee-up or abduction position, the leg that is on the platform must be stable and this requires core engagement. Master it on terra firma, and then the step prior to the stability equipment.
Kneeling Roll Outs – performed with a stability ball or ab wheel, keep your knees on the floor and create a challenge for the core by requiring it to engage as you roll the ball further from your center of gravity into spinal extension. If you have a healthy back and you are trained how to properly perform this exercise, it is terrific as an “anti-lengthening” core strengthener.
Pull Ups or Inverted Rows – are excellent exercises for the upper body, but the core must be fully engaged to perform these safely and effectively. Again, progression is important so begin with the least intense version and work your way up slowly.
Side lying lateral flexion – either with a mini ball, BOSU Balance Trainer or stability ball and yes, even without, you may perform lateral flexion to strengthen the lateral flexors of the torso.
Prone spinal extension – either with a BOSU Balance Trainer, stability ball or without, you may perform this exercise to strengthen the extensors of the spine.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of core strengthening exercises/activities. Keep it interesting and choose a wide variety of exercises and activities to strengthen your core.
Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Never Summer Fitness, LLC located in Grand Lake, Colorado. She may be reached at her website at http://www.neversummerfitness.com, her email at NSFGL@comcast.net , her blog at http://www.skyhidailynews.com and her Facebook page at Never Summer Fitness.