When we think of core exercises, the more creative programs think of exercises such as planks, medicine ball drills, and other integrated drills. Others even progress to exercises such as bottom’s up kettlebell walks, some kneeling pressing, and even deadlifts. However, DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training likes to take us to even another level of looking at core exercises.
It is important to understand that core exercises aren’t designed to be a fancy way of hitting the abs. Real core exercises are designed to teach the body to integrate many of the muscles that make up the trunk and the hips. Why do core exercises include the hips? If the pelvis can not be stabilized by the muscles of the hip guess who is going to take the grunt of the abuse? If you guessed the low back you would be correct!
What about the other muscles of the trunk? Am I referring to just the low back muscles? Of course these muscles make up those targeted by good core exercises, but that is far from the full extent. We are talking about core exercises that actually hit deep trunk muscles as well. In very simplistic terms, the core has a very deep layer and a more superficial layer. The muscles that we are use to hitting with what we think are core exercises such as crunches, russian twists, and leg raises are what make up the superficial muscles. Training just these muscles in the traditional manner doesn’t really prepare our core or train our body in a very functional manner.
The deep core muscles are those that turn on reflexively, yes, without really any conscious thought. In fact, research has shown that people that suffer from low back pain have a problem with the correct timing of these muscles. Obviously they are very important in our core exercises, but how to train them can be very difficult. We are talking about weird named muscles such as the transverse abdominis, multifidus, and pelvic floor muscles. While some people claim that they have core exercises that can target these muscles, it is very hard to know if they are working as you can’t really feel them nor see them working.
Smarter and more modern core exercises are being developed and used to address the issues we just discussed. One of the core exercises that I have really fallen in love with is the lift and chop. Popularized by physical therapists like Gray Cook, the lift and chop is actually based off of old therapeutic techniques known as PNF. Without getting getting too complex in terms of what and how we use PNF, it is best to think of teaching the body how to become smarter with its movement. Instead of just looking at the muscles, we focus on the nervous system that also largely dictates movement in the body, even often times more than just the muscles themselves.
Okay, so what does this have to do with core exercises? The lift and chop pattern follows a diagonal pattern through the body that requires ever changing tension through the trunk. While an exercise like the plank is great, it only functions off us performing full tension all the time. The reality is that most everyday activities have varying levels of stress through our body when we perform an action. If we just were rigid through our midsection all the time we would have a difficult time actually moving.
The lift and chop is one of the most powerful core exercises because we also have part of our body moving while another segment is trying to maintain stability. More advanced core exercises challenge us to integrate movement from one area of our body while maintaining stability in another. Many people who don’t actually have good core strength will find that they have the inability to resist the forces and can’t prevent their trunk from moving while the limbs move in another direction. This simply means your core exercises probably aren’t working if you can’t to achieve this goal.
You can take this to varying levels with DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training core exercises and go from very foundational to extremely dynamic core exercises. When we first take speed from a low level and more stable positions to standing and accelerate into far more athletic core exercises. Today’s DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training video focuses on how to progress these core exercises. You can implement one of these DVRT core exercises or follow the circuit laid out in the video. The lift and chop is a great basis for your core exercises but see why the DVRT Around the World exercises takes even core exercises like the lift and chop to another level.
Welcome to the modern era of core exercises and now you can see how core training isn’t just about the abs, but about so much more in enhancing your movement and fitness!