It seems like a core training is a staple of every training program regardless of the goal.
Want to address a low back issue? Do more core training.
Want to improve your sports performance? do some core drills specific to your sport.
Want to tighten up your mid-section? Do some abs-specific core drills.
Now I’m not saying this is the best or only way to achieve your goal in these area but that this is what many will default to in order to achieve success.
And there are a couple of ways we typically train the core in terms of the plane we are moving in. 99% of our training is in the sagittal (forward and back) plane and so we do:
* reverse crunches
* leg raises
* roll outs
…you get the point. Many core exercises, and well exercises in general, are designed with a forward and back emphasis.
But sometimes we’ll add in a side to side core drill targeting the frontal plane. This could include:
* side bridging
* side crunches/bending/flexing
* lateral pulls or lifts
Now do you notice anything in common about training in the sagittal or frontal planes?
The features in common is that gravity helps to reduce the force. For example, if you were on the ground on your back and tried to sit up gravity works against you and slows down this movement. As well, if you were on your side in a bridge position gravity works against you and makes it difficult to hold a tall position for an extended period of time.
However when we move in the rotational plane (think twisting) gravity down not slow down the movement. If I hold a basketball at chest height and pivot back and forth there is minimal forward/back movement nor is there much side to side movement.
So it kind of makes sense that since the majority of our training is done in the sagittal plane and that rotational movements are ignored we should look to incorporate more rotational training. As well, without the benefit of gravitational deceleration when performing rotational movements we can see how the potential for injury could be increased. Picture swinging a golf club in the transverse plane with minimal rotational stability, and possibly tight hips as well, and you can see how an injury could occur.
If you want to add a rotational exercise to your program start with the half kneeling lift. You could always start with the tall kneeling (both knees down) version but half kneeling will be alright as well. Here’s a short video of this exercise.
The keys are:
* to stay tall
* to contract the glutes of the down knee
* to keep the rib cage down
* to have the hands cross the midline of the body
* to keep the rest of the body, besides the arms, as still as possible
While we are demonstrating this exercise with tubing it can be done with a cable column, a med ball or even bodyweight to begin. Narrower your base and add load to progress.