There are exercises for abs, and then there are exercises for the core

When training the CORE for performance, there are 4 core “abilities” that need to be addressed. All four relate to core/spinal STABILITY. They are;
1) anti flexion- stopping forces attempting to FLEX the spine
2) anti extension- stopping forces attempting to EXTEND the spine
3) anti side bending- stopping forces attempting to BEND the spine right or left
4) anti rotation- stopping forces attempting to ROTATE
By increasing the strength of the core muscles associated with these ANTI MOVEMENTS, you are effectively building armor around your spine that transmits force without leaking energy. If you are strong and stable in 3 of these, but not the 4th, you basically have a “kink” in your armor that may be exposed (through injury or lower performance).
The most effective way to train the core in these abilities is to expose the exerciser to forces that are attempting to do the very things that they are attempting to avoid.
For example, a planking exercise places the exerciser under forces that attempt to extend the spine (gravity), so the challenge is to stiffen the core muscle to NOT allow this movement.
Again, the ability to AVOID movement in the spine is true core performance work, as opposed to exercises that encourage spinal movement (crunches, chops, leg lifts etc.)
Loading the spine and then moving it is not recommended, and in many circumstances will lead to disc injuries among other problems. There are a FEW safe ways to perform these types of exercises. It’s a topic for a later post.
The four examples below are exercise examples of anti flexion, anti extension, anti side bending, and anti rotation.
It’s Your Turn. Emerge.