Archive for the ‘Core Strength Training’ Category
If you deal with chronic or acute back pain, it can be debilitating. One minute you are in your normal fitness routine and the next minute you are hunched over or leaning to one side just so you can walk comfortably. Back pain is very common and it can also be very severe. Even minor “pulls”, “spasms” or “injuries” can be debilitating and when things are severe (like bulging and herniated disks, it’s even worse!)
Not only can the pain be difficult to manage, but it can also leave a person feeling confused as to what exercises they can do or fearful of doing any at all! If you have regularly occurring back pain, you should consult your physician or physical therapist about the nature of the injury before taking action. They will probably give you some back strengthening exercises and stretching to prevent recurrence and improve overall core strength. Regularly performing these exercises is an important practice for staying mobile, preventing injury and managing back pain.
Today I found a fantastic YouTube video that demonstrates some excellent back & core strengthening exercises, practicing some of these every day or even every other day will fit perfectly into any strength training workout. The video is done by a personal trainer and offers a good explanation of about ten exercises. It’s about 8 minutes long and the exercises are demonstrated in quick succession. If you are serious about performing some of these exercises, you may want to take a quick set of notes or watch it a few times in a row.
Toward the end of the video, he demonstrates some exercises and suggests they should be excluded from your back routine for 4-6 weeks. I am not really sure of his reason for avoiding these exercises, but if you decide to follow his recommendations exactly, let me know about your results.
Including two or even three different exercises everyday or every other day along with two or three stretches is something I highly recommend, especially if you fall into one of the following categories:
- You are over 21 years old.
- You have had back pain at any time during your life.
- You regularly participate in sports that require jumping, cutting, running, or sprinting.
- You have a job that requires a lot of sitting.
- You perform heavy lifting on a regular basis.
So that basically includes 95% of the people living in the United States! I’m serious, take notes on a few of these exercises and do them! You’ll thank me…If you already do your exercises and still have chronic back pain, you should definitely consult with a medical professional before doing any type of strenuous exercise.
I often work with clients who experience back pain. I can say that it has really helped them to have the guidance and knowledge of a professional when performing exercises. If you want to learn how to strengthen your core, manage chronic conditions, and prevent injuries contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set up an appointment!
Core strength training is a popular term with a few very different definitions. Athletes and coaches tend to look at core exercises as a method of improving athletic performance, while general fitness enthusiasts and body building oriented people tend to use core strength training as a means to develop the look of six pack abs.
The two only overlap because the core does consist of the rectus abdominus (six pack ab area) so ‘working the abs’ is a part of core strength training. When training your core for athletic performance you train yourself to activate muscles used to stabilize the spine, hips, and pelvis while performing other tasks such as weight lifting or explosive movement.
Abdominals: Rectus Abdominis, Transverse Abdominis, Internal and External Oblique’s
Spine: Erector Spinae, Quadratus Lumborum, Iliopsoas, Psoas Major, Trapezius
These are not the only muscles used in core strength training but they are the muscles that work together to stabilize the spine. The theory behind strengthening these muscle groups through both conditioning and weight training (core strength training) is to maximize upper to lower body (or lower to upper body) transfer of strength during many sporting activities.
General Benefits of Core Strength Training Benefits
- Improved proprioception (body awareness)
- Improved balance & stability
- Increased total power output
- Reduced risk of injury
Benefits of core strength training to the athlete
Core strength training differs from many traditional weight training routines by working the lower back, abdominals, and spinal stabilizers in unison with strength movements of the upper and/or lower body.
During athletic movement the whole body works as one unit to complete its intended task, whether it be running, throwing, catching or shooting. Core strength training is a method for replicating the simultaneous muscular stimulation required to perform these tasks. By replicating these movements in the gym, the athlete trains his/her nervous system and musculature to fire the appropriate muscles in the appropriate sequence, with more strength and power than before.
Core Strength Training Steps for the Athlete
If you would like to use core strength training to improve your performance for a specific sport, I recommend the following:
- Analyze your sport and see what different types of tasks are required.
- Does your sport require speed, power, agility, vertical jump, etc.?
- Once you break down the different skills required in your sport, begin to include them in your weight training and conditioning routine. Additionally, be sure to include strength exercises that challenge the core while simultaneously isolating other muscle groups.
To learn more about core strength training, stay in touch with me by becoming a Facebook fan, I periodically post general health and fitness articles of interest as well as offering basic fitness tips for fans. If you would like to create your own core strength training program, send me an email at email@example.com.
As you can see in this demonstration. The exercise requires a number of different things. First, you must have the ability to kneel and balance on the ball. While it seems like this could be difficult to learn, it’s really not that hard. Especially when you are using the stability ball at our gym since it’s almost deflated (haha!) OK, all kidding aside, kneeling on the ball is pretty easy once you get the hang of it (but see my warning below about taking appropriate caution). I think that, once you develop the requisite physical skills, mostly you just need to believe in yourself that you won’t fall and break your face, and that you can actually do it. It isn’t uncommon for people to overestimate their ability to do this stuff. Please be extremely careful and try to do the things that are only within your ability, things you can believe you are able to do. Trying this is not worth breaking your face!
With that lead in, let me take a moment to inject a note of caution. This exercise requires a significant amount of control that can take years to develop, particularly if you have not been training to a high level of fitness. For this level of exercise, I recommend working with someone knowledgeable who can guide you and help you set sane limits within your abilities as you progress. It’s not worth serious injury.
Once people are ready to attempt this exercise, there is a process for learning how to kneel on the ball and balance. It’s similar to the processes I’ve described in other posts and it involves developing a certain level of core strength and the ability to balance as well. Once you develop the ability to kneel on the ball, the next step is being able to lift your arms over your head without falling backwards (or falling at all, really).
After you can lift your arms over your head, start with a weight that is lighter than one you would typically use for a shoulder press…or anything for that matter. And then just see how it feels to hold the weight. As you get stronger, things will progress from there and you should be able to perform the lift and integrate it into your workout routine.
I personally use this exercise as part of my regular regimen. Either during a shoulder workout or during a total body workout. I have a lot of fun combining it with other things as it increases the overall challenge dramatically. If you are interested in developing the core strength and balance required to be able to perform this type of exercise correctly, I would be happy to train you. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I also offer monthly training calendars to help keep my clients on track toward their fitness goals. Even if you aren’t interested in extensive personal training, you should consider a monthly training calendar to help build your skills. The cost is the same as one personal training session, and you get a plan for the whole month.