- Al Painter NASM-CPT, PES, CES
DO THESE 4 TO GET MORE FROM YOUR CORE
How about that for a snazzy title? Not too bad without a full caffeination elevation sensation on board.
Alright, so everyone has a core. Some of clients don't think they do, but rest assured people, we all do. In some people its dormant. Its probably because they don't like Batman, that's my guess. They probably also experience more joint stiffness, don't move as well as they'd like and daily life is probably a little tougher.
In others, its a fully engaged power plant that helps them excel in their chosen physical activities, their days are most likely a little smoother and life is probably easier on a regular basis. These people like Batman and have seen the extended cut of Batman v Superman and loved it.
You know who has a strong core? Yup, you guessed it, the Dark Knight. See, have a strong core, do awesome things.
If we go full geekdom here describing how we are supposed to move, we get all of our power to POW!!! BAM!! THWACK!! ZOWWW!! from our core muscles.
When they are fully online, we might not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but we can perform our best with a lot less effort. We are more efficient, we recover faster and move a lot better on a daily basis.
When they aren't, we are more prone to aches/pains, injuries and it is much harder to watch over the denizens of our fair city. You know who is in peak physical condition with a BAM!! POW!!! of a core? Batman, and he's awesome. Want to be more like him? Get a strong core.
Here's a quick run down of the core to give you an idea of what you're working on with these muscles. Thinking of the core as a cylinder in the inner portion of the abdomen. It is our engine to move and it supports our muscles working together to both stabilize and produce force (1).
One of the ways this happens is through diagonal stabilization. Our shoulders working with the opposite hip stabilized through the core as we move is one of the main functions of our core muscles (2). For instance, when the right shoulder gets out of alignment, it can affect the functioning of the left hip and vice versa.
The better this connection is, the better move. It doesn't matter if you're a professional athlete whose livelihood hinges on how you perform to those at home playing with their kids, if your "X doesn't mark the spot," you won't enjoy the same quality of life of those that have that connection.
That's where these exercises come in. Four movements meant to strengthen your spokes at the hub so your wheel spins true. That's a fancy way of saying, a strong core allows the arms and legs to move their best.
As always, if something hurts, get it checked, find out why, correct it and then prevent it from happening again. This blog post can't do that for you, but a medical professional can. With that said, on with the show with four exercises that can help you build core strength so you can move better.
Single Arm Dumbbell Floor Press
I really like this exercise for several reasons. The biggest one being that it forces diagonal stabilization as the arm lowers toward the floor and hip involvement as it goes back up. Plus you can make it harder without going heavier by straightening your legs. In addition to this, it is an incredibly shoulder friendly movement tolerated well by most people. You can't go past the floor on the bottom and that keeps the top shelf ball in socket joint in a very supported position. Driving the opposite elbow into the floor adds another level of core fun to this as well.
Dumbbell Goblet Squat
You can do this Dan John special with a dumbbell or kettlebell. It is one of the best ways I've found to groove the squat pattern because of how you need to distribute your weight to do it. It can pack a wallop for the lower abdominal wall as well as light up the glutes really well. Not too mention it goes a long way to helping hip mobility. The box squat version is another way to add in an additional challenge or to as a regression for new exercisers who need to improve their movements.
Want to build up to doing a full pullup? This can help. The lower body provides the foundation for the upper body to move through the core. If you drive the elbows toward the floor for 1-2 seconds at the top of the motion, you can activate the abs that much more.
For some reason, this exercise just sucks any which way you slice it. "All" your'e doing is supporting your body using you as the load. Seems simple right? Nope. I like the bent knee version because I find that activates the hip abductors that much more. Since this is a "people weight" exercise, its pretty convenient to add in to ay exercise program.
While these are four very basic moves, they can go a long way to helping you reach a much higher level of strength and joint stability. More stability means more power to POW!!! BAMMM!!! WHUUP!!! and ZOWIE!!! your way to more awesome days. Just like a certain detective from Gotham City.
Thanks for reading!!
1) "Introduction to Core Stability," SportsInjuryPreventionClinic.net
2) "Original Strength: Regaining tTe Body You Were Meant To Have," Tim Anderson and Jeff Neupert