Archive for core stability

3 Things I Learned in 2012

Posted in Z.S. Tennis, Z.S. Training with tags , , , , , , on February 15, 2013 by zenithstrength

2012 was a big year in terms of continuing my education and having an understanding of how the body works and how different segments of the body can affect each other. Below are 3 aha moments that I learned in 2012 and how they are related to each other.
1. Extension is the new flexion. Anterior tilt 2

I remember reading a post from Eric Cressey (although I can’t recall which one), and he talked about this training baseball athletes and how they were seeing more extension patterns vs flexion patterns. Although the light bulb didn’t fully go off until I attended the Postural restoration seminar, given that we work with a ton of athletes, I was noticing a similar pattern  and came to the conclusion that essentially, the majority of athletes are going to come in with some sort of extension type issue. It is important to address this especially if they are involved with overhead/ throwing movements, as the inability to control extension can also affect how the scapula is positioned on the ribcage which will affect shoulder stability.. If they are involved in jumping sports like basketball, this can lead to anterior knee pain and hip impingement, even groin/sports hernia issues.
The goal isn’t to make wholesale changes to athletes but moving them towards a more neutral hip position by strengthening weak links, which can help alleviate a ton of extension related symptoms.
So, with the increase in athletes who exhibit these features you start to appreciate how things are connected with regards to movement. You will find that an extension athlete will have rib flairs and extend in the T/L junction so it is important to cue them to keep the ribs down and engage their anterior abdominals and obliques. Inchworms are a great exercise to work on bringing the ribs down.
There is also a correlation between how someone breathes and their hip and scapula position which brings up point number two.

2. Breathing is really important.

Breathing has been talked about by quite a few coaches I highly respect. And it wasn’t until I spent more time with a PRI trained therapist that I fully understood the relationship between how you breathe and how it affects everything from core stability to shoulder stability and range of motion. The inner core has been discussed comprehensively, and breathing properly sets the diaphragm in position to stabilize the spine when lifting heavy stuff. How you breathe can also affect your state of mind and how you deal with stress. Here are a couple of great articles that talk about this. Mike talks about stress and breathing here and Sean talks about the importance of breathing.

A few things to assess are whether someone inhales mainly through chest, or do the lungs expand with the belly. Also, look to see if they can depress their ribs during the exhale and engage the diaphragm.

3. Upward rotation for shoulder health.

Again this is a topic that has been discussed extensively by Eric Cressey and a few other coaches. Most overhead athletes will have poor upward movement of their scapula and if they are stuck in the extension posture we talked about, they will probably have their scapula locked in depression and  downward rotation using the lats. To mimic this position, exaggerate sticking your chest out and feel what it does to your upper back, scapulae and lower back.

Adding Y’s can help to some degree but we prefer seated wall slide variations and the 135 wall slide.

These are great variations  but to make them even better I would add an exhale before going into shoulder flexion to keep the ribs down and prevent them from flaring up.

Here’s a video from Mike Robertson demoing the forearm wall slide 135

And Eric Cressey demonstrating the half kneeling landmine press.

We have also started integrating Landmine presses to allow the scapula to move freely into upward rotation.


The name of the game is to keep getting better and continuing to learn so we can help athletes achieve higher levels of performance while limiting injuries as much as we can.

Hopefully these tips will help with your training and coaching.


Core Stability in Your Program Part 2

Posted in Athlete's Accomplishments, Z.S. Basketball Training, Z.S. conditioning, Z.S. Tennis with tags , , , , , , , on January 12, 2012 by zenithstrength

In part 1  we talked about the different types of core training exercises and implementing them in your training program.

In part 2 we are going to talk about developing stability while standing and integrating it with movement.

Anti Lateral flexion and rotation is an area that many athletes lack strength and stability in.  It would be nice to see some studies correlating back pain or knee pain with anti lateral core stability/strength. If someone has a link to some studies please comment below.

The benefits of owning lateral stability are especially important for rotational athletes such as baseball players, tennis players and golfers to name a few. I’m a huge fan of integrating stability with movement patterns once the athlete masters the basics such as planks and tall/half kneeling variations as I feel this most closely mimics how the body functions while moving.

Below is a video of Tony Gentilcore of Cressey Performance performing a pallof press while squatting.

You can also add lateral movement and hip strength to the pallof press.

Below is variation of the press using the TRX rip trainer with a band around the knees to facilitate  glute activation.

This is a great exercise for athletes that need stability in the frontal plane as it incorporates both the upper and lower body working together to stabilize.

Give these a try and let me know what you think.

Shyam Soin

Core Stability in your Training Program

Posted in Z.S. Tennis, Z.S. Training with tags , , , , , , , , on December 4, 2011 by zenithstrength

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.

Train Hard!