When you hear the word "core" you probably think of a picture of washboard abs. While this is one picture you can think of, your core is so much more and requires a robust training approach to prepare you for all of the demands of life and sport. While your brain is the overarching central command, your core is the central command of movement quality.
Your core must be able to handle load, rotate, stabilize against rotation, and provide your limbs with a strong base to work. Let's take a look at how you can progress your core training to prepare you for the demands of life and sport.
I'm sure you know what a plank is. With that said, how much thought do you put into your planks? The next time you complete a plank, I want you to think about your head position. Do you allow your neck to be kinked looking up or to the side? Try holding a more neutral position. Do you have an arch in your low back? Focus on tucking your tailbone and engaging your glutes. These simple differences go a long way in training proper body position.
When I am testing athletes, I look for a passing score of 60 seconds of a front plank and 60 seconds on each side for side planks.
Once you master the basic body position of a plank, you can make things more challenging by changing your base of support and adding movement.
Presses & Chops
The next realm to explore is presses and chops. These variations bring your hips into the fold and challenge you to focus on your transfer of force throughout your body.
Start with the Pallof Press (core push video) to get a feel for avoiding rotation. Being able to control rotation is a critical skill in performance. I like to start athletes off with an RPE of 7/10 for training sets during the learning phase. This gives enough resistance to feel the challenge of anti-rotation without loading too fast too soon. From there, we make it a goal to progress the resistance each week for a four-week cycle.
After getting a feel for the Pallof Press, explore some other variations of of presses and chops. A steady dose of both movement types helps prepare you for the field of play.
The final category we will discuss in this post is the use of a medicine ball. The medicine ball is one of the most versatile pieces of core training equipment on the market. With the medicine ball, you can master faster-paced movements that will challenge you to hold form while pushing speed. As I often say, speed without form is nothing. The medicine ball is also great for squeezing and engaging more muscles during holds.
Build a rock solid body
Have you struggled to find a fitness training program that fits your schedule, equipment availability, and goals? Look no further than our Custom Training option! With this option, you will go through an individualized assessment so I can learn about your strengths, areas for improvement, and training history. From there, you will get access to a program that includes equipment you have access to and fits your schedule. The best part, you can complete this program from anywhere!
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