In the previous article, we covered some basic core exercises that can easily be done at the gym, in-home on a mat and as a complement to any training session.
Practicing basic fundamentals helps to limit compensatory techniques from occurring with more advanced movements.
Many basic core exercises involve being in an unloaded or simple position such as lying supine or on your back. The less loaded the spine is, the fewer variables the mind has to focus on while learning proper muscle sequencing.
Simple patterns have to be executed properly before advanced ones. Once good control in basic positions is mastered, progressing that motor pattern into more advanced positions helps to train proper core motor control for functional movements.
This then translates into training and sports performance. In this article, we discuss some progressions of the basic core moves towards challenging the central nervous system further in these positions.
Assume the start position of the regular plank.
Alternate back and forth between sides. Make sure to move SLOWLY while focusing on your pelvis and spine control. Start with sets of 5 on each leg and increase the repetitions to your tolerance as long as you can demonstrate proper control.
Assume the side plank position.
Once the form is mastered with good control, you can progress to holding the side plank while completing continuous leg raises. Complete on both sides. Start with sets of 5 on each leg, progressing as tolerated and as long as good control is executed.
Assume the quadruped position.
Start with sets of 5 on each side. Make sure to alternate sides as well and move slowly to demonstrate control. Increase the repetitions as your technique improves.
Start by lying on your back with your knees bent.
Start with sets of 5 on each leg and increase as tolerated. If low back tension or discomfort occurs, avoid straightening the leg as far out. Maintain control of the pelvis first before progressing leg extension distance.
Assume a half-kneeling position.
Try practicing both positions of either the front leg being closer to the wall as well as far away. Once one direction is completed, turn around and complete in the opposite direction to work the other side.
Start with repetitions of 10 while focusing on torso and pelvis position, again moving slowly.
These exercises are all progressions of the basic positions described in the first article discussing core activation training.
In review, practicing these muscle sequencing patterns on these positions will help to translate into more demanding movements such as resistance training and sports performance.
A common problem that occurs is that most individuals and athletes tend to skip these basic steps and fall into compensatory patterns to help complete more demanding tasks.
These basic movements are a good way to “check” the system to avoid injury and problems down the line.
About The Author
Michael St. George, PT, DPT (@icore_stgeorge on Instagram) is a physical therapist who works for Excel Physical Therapy and Fitness which is a private practice that is based around the greater Philadelphia region and suburbs. He is FMS, SFMA, Y Balance and Motor Control Test Certified with 8 years of experience in outpatient orthopedics and sports medicine. His training consists of experience working with physicians and surgeons from the Rothman Institute and therapists in his field specializing in various manual techniques and advanced treatment procedures.