Core Stability is:
“The capacity of the muscles of the torso to assist in the maintenance of good posture, balance, etc., especially during movement.”
Core training is, and always will be, a hot topic in the fitness industry and everyone has his or her opinion on it.
First of all, let’s actually define what we mean by “the core”. Your core is not just your rectus abdominis (your six pack). It’s basically everything below the shoulders and above the knees. Building a strong core through appropriate exercise prescription and progression is vital in terms of posture, injury prevention and proper function.
When it comes to function and being athletic, the core is responsible for transferring power from lower extremities to upper extremities, and plays a massive part in stabilising the limbs during movement.
The big 3 movements you should address first are:
1) Anti Extension
This means an exercise that is forcing you to resist extending the lower back. In this case think front plank variations like a long lever plank (shown below) or rollouts.
2) Anti Rotation
Any exercise that is forcing you to resist against rotation in the trunk. Exercises such as Pallof presses (shown below), shoulder touches or even bird dogs are good options.
Flexion has taken a back seat in core training because of all the research carried out by Dr Stuart McGill, but any extreme is an extreme and we still need to train flexion in some capacity. Exercises such as sit-up variations (shown below), hanging knee raises, or reverse crunches are good options. Think either hips to ribs or ribs to hips on these.
Once you have a foundation of strength in these three movements, you can start to have some fun with other aspects of core training. These combine the above with some added spice, bringing anti-lateral flexion and reactive stability with exercises such as contralateral split squats (shown below) and Turkish get-ups.