Monday Motivation (Week 23): Training The Core
Happy Monday to all! I hope everyone had a good weekend and is getting off to a good week, hopefully getting some exercise in today. Remember, something is better than nothing. Get out and move! I’m going to piggyback off of last week’s Monday Motivation where I started discussing the core and how its more than just a rocking six-pack ab display.
The way I have learned over time and research that is the best way to train the core for its functional ability is through isometric exercises. Isometric exercises are when a group of muscles is contracted or activated but there is no change in the joints that they cross. In the side plank, for example, the oblique and quadratus lumborum are very active while the spine and hips have no movement. It’s different then if you were standing and doing a side bend with weights in your hand which people call a side bend. The side bend is a dynamic exercise because there is movement as where the side plank is an isometric because there is no movement but the muscles are contracted and still working.
Research from Dr. Stuart McGill shows that in regards to muscle endurance, isometric exercises are far more superior compared to dynamic exercises in enhancing spinal stiffness and stability. When we increase the stiffness of the core that translates to the spine being able to take on more resistance without bending, for example, like in the squat or deadlift. The more stiffness we are in our core, the more power we can create in our legs and arms. We must train all around the spine, not just the anterior part where the six-pack abs will be found.
When we get into core training there is one strategy I really have when it comes to programming; resist movement. You won’t see myself programming crunches/sit-ups, not because they are bad but because I think there are better options to train the core. The core like I mentioned before is 3 dimensional in shape. We must train the core to resist flexion, lateral flexion, extension and rotation. This is not a one-size-fits-all model, you must incorporate all of these different strategies intelligently into your weekly programming. If we strengthen strictly our anterior core and have rocking six-pack abs but don’t touch the posterior core we will come up to issues where we don’t have enough strength to resist back extension and maybe getting some back pain “out of nowhere”. Its really not out of nowhere if you don’t touch upon the posterior part of your core musculature.
We will keep discussing the core next week as it is arguably the most important part of our body when it comes to strength training. Let me know any of your thoughts always @ sean_maloney.12 on Instagram and also [email protected]
In Good Health Always,
Sean Maloney and the ToneUp Club Team