Cyclists! Do you struggle to minimise upper body movement?
Rowers! Do you struggle to sit up tall and maintain your posture? As you fatigue do you start rounding the shoulders and bending the lower back?
Improve your performance and prevent injury with anti core training
The key to your functional core strength
Stabilising our hips and spine during movement provides us with a solid base from which to perform. This means a greater ability to transfer energy from the lower body to the upper body, and vice versa. This will not only allow you to produce more powerful and efficient actions during common movements like running, rowing and cycling, but it will also make you more resilient to injury.
If you want to optimise performance and keep your spine, hips and shoulders healthy, we need to keep each region of the spine in neutral whatever movement or exercise we are executing. Flexing, extending, side bending or rotating the spine under load, will eventually lead to injury. To achieve this we need to be able to create internal tension through the stabilising muscles of the spine, and abdominal wall and resist movement.
When rowing the body over position in the recovery phase is the critical point at which a neutral spine can be lost and the spine flexes. Movement should come from the hips as we hinge forward and weight shifts from the back to the front of the seat, as opposed to bending from the thoracic or lumbar spine, setting us up for a poor position at the catch. Loading the spine in this position will eventually cause injury and is inefficient. The hip hinge will be covered in more depth in a later post!
Cycling challenges our core in a very different way as we try to minimise movement in the upper body and hips resisting the rotational force created as we pull on the handlebars and drive with the legs.
Anti-movement core training is the key to achieving this and building functional athletic core stability.
Here are 3 types of anti core exercises you must include in your workouts
This refers to extension of the spine which occurs when the back arches. Too much when we move can cause issues.
Exercises like Dead Bugs, Planks, and Stability Ball Rollouts (Video 1) are great, and the goal is to prevent the back from overarching and the hips tipping forward.
This trains the hips and spine to resist rotation, particularly important for cyclists and runners.
The Bird Dog, the Anti-Rotation Hold (Photo 2), Pallof Press (Video 3)
3. Anti-Lateral Flexion
This will train the spine to resist bending to the side.
The Side Plank, The Single Arm Farmer’s Walk (Photo 4)
A core capable of resisting force in a variety of planes will help you move better and stay healthier. Give these a try and if you have any questions, comment below.
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(Cycling/rowing/running specific or strength and conditioning and injury prevention)