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8 Stronger Core Exercises for Better Movement

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Jessica Bento, Physical Therapist

We want to do one thing, make people move better. I know what you might say…”what about looking better”, “what about being stronger”, “what about being more powerful?” 

The truth is that good movement is a main part of all of that! If you move better you can stimulate the right muscles. If you move well you can use your body more efficiently and be stronger. Moving well is essential for creating a strong and stable platform for you to be powerful. 

Good movement doesn’t mean you aren’t training your muscles or other fitness qualities. It does mean that you do all of this so much better! When you understand movement then all of this makes so much sense. 

Especially when we look at the movement pattern that most people never talk about, but we do the most…..walking! You never hear anyone go to the gym and say it is time to train their walking, but maybe you should! 

More than any other movement, squatting, hinging, pressing, and anything else we do and see in the gym, walking is what we do most in real life. So, it makes sense if we want our strength to actually transfer beyond the gym then we need to consider this in our training. 

That is where we see infamous Dead Bugs and Bird Dogs. I say infamous because it seems like almost out of the blue, they have become all the rage. I’m glad to see it, but I am just not sure people really understand why. 

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In walking we have the pelvis that needs to be stabilized against the pull of the legs, the cross pattern of our legs and arms working in synergy to create stability and movement, and finally our body working in all three planes of motion. 

One of the best ways to accomplish all these big ideas is by starting with simple exercises. In DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training we speak all the time about moving from stable to unstable. When it comes to the development of these skills there is no more stable environment than the ground on our back. 

Yes! The Dead Bug helps us introduce these concepts and specifically strengthen the qualities that relate to gait. Today’s DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training video walks you through some Dead Bug progressions building greater strength and stability. 

At a certain point, we don’t want to just go heavier or more complex. We need to start to change our challenge to the walking pattern. Enter Bird Dogs. For most people, they miss that the Bird Dog is simply a Dead Bug done from a quadruped position. That means we have to resist more gravity and therefore, we work against MORE forces and develop the skills and strength to improve movement. 

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What does the Ultimate Sandbag actually bring to both of these movements? It isn’t just throwing weight on the body and hoping you get stronger. 

One of the key concepts for people to understand is that your lats, core, and hips work together (although in opposites). Holding just weight doesn’t do a lot than other apply load to the body, but that isn’t what we are doing with the Ultimate Sandbag. 

Coaching people to actively pull the outside handles apart or take slack out does some pretty powerful things. In the Dead Bug, pulling the outside handles apart instantly activates the core and lats. That means you work from a much stronger base and train not just the muscles, but the natural chains of the body as well. When you focus on chains rather than muscles, almost something magical happens to people’s movement. It improves in record time!

In the Bird Dog, using various drags allows us to challenge our anti-rotational strength while still integrating the chains. Many people when they perform Bird Dogs immediately drop into extension in their low backs and/or rotate their body. Dragging keeps tension in the body’s chain to prevent these common mistakes. Instead of trying to tell people not to rotate or drop their hips, using proper load application (like the Ultimate Sandbag in this case) we have the exercise teach people how to move well. 

A simple tool that can create very powerful results. The very essence of what we want people to achieve with DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training. 

These types of exercises are better reflections of real world core strength and layering progression of functional fitness. Every workout you should be using one of these exercises either to prime your body for your training, or make them the center piece of core strength training. 

Love these progressions? Check out our DVRT Better Backs, Knees, and Shoulders program HERE