A little while ago I was training an athlete and as they got to the core section, they commented that they were a little over one of the exercises I had programmed - a side plank star variation. As I had only been working with them for a little while I thought that they enjoyed this exercise. So I took up the challenge of doing the core circuit with them. And to be honest although it was tough, I quickly got bored of it.
And then I thought about what I like to do when it comes to core exercises. My favourites are based around rotational movements that challenge a range of movements and in my opinion feel like they have a greater sports application. My background in sport is Shot Put and Discus and hence these exercises sit well within these rotational based sports. Furthermore I feel like they challenge both the core and the whole body. And more importantly I find them fun.
Therefore I've put together a short video of these exercises for you to have a look at on my youtube channel. I have added 3 different exercises and a few variations.
I know there are a host of more rotational based exercises out there but the following expands a little on the exercises that appear on my video.
The exercises are:
1. Side Rotations.
Performed on a back extension machine it is important to maintain spinal and head alignment through these exercises. I have 5 different variations:
- Isometric holds: build up to 3-5 reps whilst holding for 10-15seconds
- Rotations: work in the range that your strength and thoracic rotation allows: 6-8reps each side
- Loaded rotations: you can use a plate weight, dumbbell, med ball or even try a body blade: 6-8reps each side
- Band rotations: this adds another loaded variation and you can adjust the amount of rotation needed by changing how much band you grab: 6-8 reps each side
- Med Ball throws: a partner is needed here and timing is key. You can increase complexity through the ball being dropped through to a forceful med ball "throw down"
2. Sit-up Plus.
This is set up on a GHR (a back extension machine may do). This creates quite a bit of extra ROM (hence the "plus"). I was quite sore through my rectus abs the first doing this. The added "fly" movement adds another complexity to the exercise. I actually got this exercise of an old European throws training video and didn't know what it was called - hence get the name simple. Build up to 8-10 reps per set.
I also tried a single arm variation and found this to be a nice challenge. Small subtle in the movement through initiating the movement from the hip to create a sling effect and also trying for an increase in extension at the top. Do the double arm variation for a few weeks before trying this one: 6reps per side.
3. Eccentric flywheel rotations.
I am a fan of all woodchop cable variations. I used a kBox (http://exxentric.com/kbox) for this one as we have one at where I work. I enjoy the challenge of the flywheel. The role of eccentric strength training has gained a lot of popularity of late and I feel that adding in contractions variations (i.e. concentric, isometric and eccentric) into my core routine adds both variety and increased strength capacity. I find you can really "rip" into these exercises. And if you attached their kmeter you could also measure the amount of power in each rep. Its a bit of a set-up but worth the effort: 6-10reps per side (remember you'll need about 3 reps to get the flywheel going).
I hope you enjoyed my small video. It was a good reminder to ensure that all aspects of my strength programs not only has a purpose to the athlete but also provides an element of enjoyment.
If you have any videos of exercises that you find effective please share.
Thanks for reading.