Continued – Core Beliefs

May 16, 2012

-To increase power and reduce the risk of injury, focus on your trunk strength.

By Coach Kaehler

Are you incorporating core- or trunk-strengthening exercises into your training program? And if so, what are you actually trying to accomplish with them? Your body’s core consists of the musculature around the trunk that controls anterior, posterior, and lateral forces placed through the spine when rowing, lifting, exercising, or performing other body movements. Making the trunk or core the point of stability for the legs and arms to work from is key to improving your rowing power and helps reduce the risk of low-back injury.
There are four categories of core exercises: fixed trunk with moving legs; fixed legs with moving trunk; fixed arms and legs; and all extremities moving. We can then break down each category according to how the trunk is positioned to the work or gravity (anterior, posterior, standing, lateral, etc) and how the work is applied to the trunk. Improving trunk strength is one way to increase rowing power, and using exercises from each of the above categories will help you develop balanced trunk strength. (Many training programs focus solely on improving anterior trunk strength.)
The most common anterior trunk strengthening exercises feature fixed legs and a moving trunk. These include: sit-ups and oblique twists with fixed feet; crunches performed on the floor; crunches performed with an exercise ball; and crunches performed with a core wheel (knees or feet fixed with trunk moving). You can also strengthen the anterior trunk by fixing the upper body (no movement either on the ground or by holding onto a pull-up bar or another solid object on the floor).

These exercises include: knees to elbows (on the floor or from a pull-up bar); single or double leg lifts off the floor; stationary bike exercises; and using a power wheel attached to the feet.
Another way to help strengthen the anterior trunk is to fix all four extremities on the floor, either by holding a front plank or by doing a push-up. These types of movements tend to be isometric but are excellent at teaching spine control. Finally, you can also perform exercises where all four extremities are moving, such as scullers or v-ups, or by touching both hands and feet together when lying on your back. These are great for coordination and require good abdominal balance.

Avoid doing only your favorite abdominal exercises and focus on a more balanced approach to your anterior trunk strengthening program—especially if you are not sure of your anterior trunk strength balance. Using a blend of exercises from each of the four categories is a good way to cover your bases.

Because the abdominals are postural muscles, they are designed to tolerate a higher volume of repetitions without fatigue (3 x 25 reps or more) than your extremities can take. When working on your abdominal muscle groups, focus on improving your endurance by using higher reps rather than going for maximum strength. In addition, abdominal muscles recover from strength training faster the extremities so they can be trained daily with less concern of over-training.

A comprehensive program to strengthen your trunk by using core exercises must also include movements that work on the posterior and lateral trunk as well. Finding a good balance between anterior, posterior, and lateral trunk strength is essential to reduce the risk of injury while at the same time improving your rowing power and strength.

-If you liked this article you may be interested in my “FREE REPORT” on how to begin balancing your flexibility and strength!

SIGN-UP  now by entering your first name and email above (top right corner).

Share and Enjoy:
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • PDF
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay


Got something to say?