GET MORE FROM YOUR CORE: How to Train Your Core, Get More & Jump Up Your Performance

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Updated: August 23, 2020

GET MORE FROM YOUR CORE: 

How to Train Your Core, Get More and Jump Up Your Performance.

Crunches ARE NOT the same as doing a total core training program.  In the past few years I’ve come to hate the term “CORE”, along with a few other terms that I think our industry; fitness, performance and strength & conditioning over-use or take to much liberty with the terms – but that’s for a different blog!

Core work, love to do it or hate it, is vital to performance. Whether you’re training for a sport or the sport of everyday life, I guarantee your kicking that core to do ANYTHING.

Also, If you’re thinking that doing a million crunches is going to give you that summer six-pack, you’re wrong. More on that later.

Here Coach Rozy shares some common core training mistakes he sees most often, and breaks down how Coach Rozy Performance develops your core like a pro athlete.

// COMMON MISTAKES IN CORE TRAINING

When we speak to younger folks, the base reason for core work is their desire to get that beach body, which they feel revolves around a six pack.

As a result, they do umpteen kinds of crunches and twists day after day, often resulting in painful muscle tweaks or them quitting core training altogether because their midsection is just too sore to continue – with not much results.

When they wonder why this punishing high-rep routine isn’t delivering the results they were looking for we break it down for them, giving several reasons for such issues.

1. A lack of understanding of the human anatomy means that people are only focusing on core exercises that give them a burn in the front ab’s – or what most people see in fitness pic’s, the hottest celeb, etc.  These are the rectus abdominus muscles.

What we need to understand is that there are a whole array of muscles in what we usually call the core, including internal and external obliques, the quadrates humdrum and the erector spinae– some of which are located on your sides and back.

2. Another problem is volume. There’s no harm in doing crunches, but if you do a couple hundred of them a day, the poison can be in the dose, leading to a sore back or painful ab tear.

3. Last problem we see is a lack of variety. People will find a couple of core exercises that they like or that they think will get them that swimsuit-ready body and do them day in and day out.

In doing so, they’re overtaxing a particular movement pattern and not considering all the ways that the core functions.

Just like you wouldn’t do heavy squats, dead lifts, or shoulder presses seven days a week, neither is it wise to hammer the same core exercise or two repeatedly.

// HOW TO TRAIN THE CORE TO GET MORE

Our methodology at Coach Rozy Performance is put together by what we have see with high level performances; professional athletes, elite military special forces, police, firefighters, competitive and recreational athletes in just about every sport, and helping everyday folks who simply want to move more sustainably.

The first thing is to consider what core muscles work together from a functional perspective. We call this a movement pattern based approach. Then we assign staple core exercises to 6 categories.

Here’s the basic overview of each category along with a thought about each core exercise. Of course, there are many other variations you can consider inserting into your existing ab workout routine – these are just a couple examples that can be effective:

GET A COMPLETE AB WORKOUT WITH THESE CATEGORIES

When building out your weekly core routine. Think of these categories to help build around. That way you can get the proper recover time for your abs while still working on your core regularly.

1. Anti-extension exercises

Assume a regular plank position, tap your left hand on your right shoulder, and then your right hand on your left shoulder.

If you want to take the intensity up a notch, then go into a pike position. This exercise targets your core as you stay stable in the tall plank and pike position. It also provides a great challenge to your shoulders.

The key is to continuously push your chest away from the ground throughout all reps. Shoot for 2-4 sets of 3-5 repetitions.

2. Anti-rotation exercises

The Pallof press is a great way to build more strength and endurance in the obliques the smaller muscles around the spine.

You’d need to recruit these to play many sports effectively. Or if you were out for a trail run and were treading over an obstacle like a log, you’d call upon anti-rotation to keep you running without twisting and falling over.

To do this variation, kneel alongside a squat rack or another stable anchor. Loop one end of a resistance band around it and hold the other in both hands. Sit back on your heels and push the band out in front of you. That’s one rep.

Try 3 sets of 12 reps.

3. Anti-flexion exercises

If you were doing a bilateral carry and relaxed your core too much, you’d start to fold over. This demonstrates how a two-handed carry helps you develop anti-flexion capabilities.

If you switch from two kettlebells or dumbbells to one, you’ll activate your QL and other small core muscles to try and avoid the weight pulling you to one side. And if you move the weight up into a front rack position, you start challenging your scapula control and the stability of your shoulder complex.

Try 3 sets of walking 40 to 80 feet

4. Active extension exercises

This is an easy one to do almost any place.  You just need to find a spot on the floor – and enough room to pretend you’re Superman, or Superwoman, flying to save the world.  On your stomach on the floor, with arms extended over head, lift your arms and chest up.  Try to get your chest off the floor.  At the same time, lift your legs, working to get your thighs off the ground.  (It should look like you’re sky diving!).

Do 2-4 sets of 8-15 reps.  Remember to squeeze the shoulders, lower back & butt, and legs as you lift.  You don’t have to over do it; you’ll do SUPER!

5. Active rotation exercises

In addition to resisting forces that might make us twist, we also need to develop the ability to generate force through rotation.

Tossing a medicine ball is a good way to start. Stand facing parallel to a wall with a medicine ball in both hands. Turn quickly toward the wall and throw the ball against it. Catch it, twist back to the start position, and repeat.  Don’t have a Med Ball – start with a soccer or basketball ball and build from there.

Then switch sides. Do 2-4 sets of 8-15 reps

6. Active flexion exercises

One of our favorite exercises is the Dead Bug.  Not only does it work all areas of the core, it’s great for coordination and timing.  Remember, sometimes we can lock our back up – not because of LOAD (I know a person that hurt their back picking up a piece of paper!), but because of the sequence in how the back muscles fire.

For this one, you’re on your back, both arms in the air, both legs in the air.  To start, drop your right arm, over your head to the floor, while at the same time dropping your left leg to the floor.  Your other arm and leg should stay UP and not move.  Bring both your right arm and left leg back to start position BEFORE you move your other arm and leg.  One arm and leg always stay locked and stable while the other arm and leg move.  You should never have all 4 limbs moving at the same time!

Do 2-4 sets of 3-8 repetitions.

DISTRIBUTE YOUR AB WORKOUTS AND COMPOUND CORE TRAINING BENEFITS

Breaking things up in this way allows you to spread your core exercises out over the course of your training for the week.

As a result, you can expose your body to six different ways of creating or resisting motion without overtaxing.

As with every other body area, the key is to start slowly and progress gradually. You wouldn’t try to jump from 200 to 400 pounds in your squat all at once. The same goes for your core training.

Another key consideration is that you don’t need to only do isolation work.

If you performed a few sets of front or goblet squats with a challenging weight, your core will be on fire. Turkish get-ups will light up your obliques and help you move with more control through the transverse plane.

Single-arm kettlebell swings not only improve your ability to hip hinge but also force you to resist rotation.

If I take athletes through a 6-8 exercise session, usually only one or maximum two will be considered dedicated core exercises.

If you focus on compound movements, supplement them with core exercises that fit the categories mentioned earlier, and spread your core workout routine over the course of each training week, you’ll be all set to move more powerfully and safely.

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