Assessing and addressing core stability is an important part of a solid strength and conditioning program . The reason for that is the better you can control/stabilize your pelvis the better you can demonstrate force through movement. This applies to whether your goal is getting stronger and lifting heavier weights, or getting faster on the field. I have never seen an athlete who was fast and explosive who didn’t also have good core stability. Now this doesn’t mean that only thing one has to train is the core. I get asked that question a lot, and the bottom line is that force production is the name of the game if you are an athlete. In order to get stronger, you must have stability in the right places to demonstrate force.
Here are some basic guidelines and exercises regarding programming some core stability exercises into your program.
1. Anti extension which is preventing and controlling back extension/hyperextension. This is especially important with clients who have an excessive anterior tilt and have back pain.
Some examples include front planks, ab roll out variations, body saws and loaded zercher sandbag carries
2.Anti Flexion which is preventing your low back from flexing. Consistent and repetitive flexion of the spine may potentially cause issues with disc herniations down the road.
Examples of anti flexion exercises include hip hinging, dead lift variations and squat variations. In addition the prone knee to chest mountain climber using sliders or the TRX is another great exercise that we use with clients who have a posterior tilt/flat back to teach them the difference between hip flexion and lumbar flexion.
3.Anti lateral flexion,which is preventing the low back from flexing to the side.
Some examples of exercises include side plank variations, pallof presses, landmines, suite case carries using farmers walk handles.
4. Anti rotation, which is preventing rotation in the pelvis and low back.
Some great anti rotation exercises include bird dogs, renegade rows, single leg RDL’s and hip thrusts.
Both anti rotation and anti lateral flexion stability are important especially in rotational sport athletes like golfers baseball pitchers and tennis players. Since these athletes spend most of their time rotating its a good idea to throw in these exercises to keep the low back healthy.
You should have some combination of the core stability exercises listed. Depending on how many weight training session per week you lift, the combinations are endless and don’t be afraid to get creative.
Eric Cressey has a great article on programming core exercises into your program.
Below, is an example of working anti extension and anti lateral flexion with the plank using a band.
You can make this more dynamic by adding two bands and pulling the athlete into lateral flexion. I originally got that idea from Jim Smith and Joe Defranco. They have a dvd coming out soon called Extreme, detailing creative ways to get stronger and faster.
Try some of these exercises out and let me know how they feel.