Looking for a core that not only looks good but functions well, whether your a regular Joe or an athlete? Of course you are, because we all are.
What’s the most important function of the core? I would argue it’s the ability of the anterior core to prevent extension of the lumbar spine. It’s crucial for both everyday life, sport performance, and just feeling strong and healthy. How do you train anti-extension? Through this safe an effective progression that will not only allow you to improve your core strength but keep you from wrecking havoc on your back.
1. Front Plank: Everyone should be able to perform a perfect front plank for 30-45 seconds. What’s perfect? Your body should be a straight line, looking like you are standing. Core, glutes and quads tight.
2. Push Up Taps: Now with the body in a push up position, tap one hand to the opposite shoulder in a slow and controlled manner without the hips/lumbar spine moving. We have now added a small amount of anti-rotation to our anti-extension exercise, making it more difficult. Remember, the slower the better.
3. Ball Rollout: Begin tall with the glutes and core tight with your hands on the ball. With your toes digging into the ground, roll your entire body forward keeping a perfectly straight line from your knees to your shoulders. The key is not allowing any rounding of that lower back as you roll outward.
4. Body Saw: The body saw is very similar to the ball rollout. In a perfect plank position, acting just like a saw, use the shoulder joint to move your body forward and backward. The body saw is essentially a front plank with motion. Again, no rounding of that low back.
5. Slide Board Push Up: Without a doubt the most difficult progression. The combination of anti-extension, shoulder stability, and a rotary component due to the hand being in an asymmetrical position, makes this an extremely challenging and humbling exercise. In that same perfect front plank, reach one arm overhead while keeping the core engaged and resisting extension. Again, no rounding of the lower back.