By: Patrick Beith
I'm sure that you have heard how important abdominal work is for training speed, right? The problem is that some athletes hear this and decide to just perform crunches for 100's of reps everyday. Doing this will cause huge muscle imbalances & inhibitions and actually hinder your performance.
We stopped calling our abdominal work 'core' training and replaced it with 'pillar' training. We wanted to take the emphasis off of just doing abs. Think of the pillar as the center of your body or the truck (hip complex, abdominals, low back).
How many muscles do you think are controlling your trunk? If you answered 29, then you are correct. Yes, 29 muscles are working together so you can maintain posture and alignment, reduce forces, dynamically stabilize and also produce force. With a weak pillar, you can not produce force efficiently no matter how strong your other muscles are. Basically if your trunk is weak you will be wasting energy, be slower and less powerful in your movements. Not what you want if your looking to get faster!
Alright, you want to be fast and have a strong pillar so what you do?
Here are a few Exercises: (You can always change the intensity of each exercise by adding/using: physio-balls, medicine balls, weighted vests, tubing, dumb bells, cables, etc. Also, the intensity also changes by using different reps, sets, tempo, frequency, and body position. Just make sure that you are always in control and you are following a logical progression.)
V-sits – Supine position. Arms out straight above your head. Bring your upperbody up at the same time as your legs and try to touch your feet when you reach in the middle.
Russian Twists – Seated. Bend you knees and keep your feet up off of the ground. With your hands together, you are touching the right side then the left. That counts as 1 repetition.
Diagonal Wood Chop – Standing. Start with the medicine ball above your head on one side. Chop down across the opposite side to the knee.
Over head throw – Standing. Start with the ball overhead and throw to a partner or a wall. Knees are slightly bent.
Swedish Abs (front) – Start in the plank position (prone, on your forearms and feet) and hold that position for 45 seconds.
Ball crunches – Perform crunches on a physio-ball.
Tube walking – Standing with your legs slightly wider than shoulder width. Take a step forward while keeping the tension on the tube.
Floor Bridging – In a supine position with your knees bent 45 degrees. Raise your hips up so that they are fully extended then comeback down and touch the ground and repeat.
Floor cobra – In a prone position, keeping your hands by your side. Now, keeping your legs anchored, extend your upper-body keeping your head aligned with your spine.
Fire hydrants – On all fours. Raise one leg up to the side while keeping your leg bent and your ankle tucked. Raise that leg/knee to hip level and comeback down and repeat.
Here is training schedule for pillar work: Note that the truck muscles can be trained everyday only if you are not performing the same exercises in the same plane daily. After Day 3 you can start right back with Day 1.
Day 1 – Flexion/Extension Day 2 – Rotation Day 3 – Stabilization
Again, we want a strong pillar so our truck muscles can work synergistically, have perfect length-tension and force-couple relationships, as well as have efficient movement patterns.
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