KX Personal Training Education Program: Progressive Abdominal Training Part 2
Following on from the abdominal article last month which looked at activating the primary core muscles, we are now ready to progress to an intermediate level by increasing the load, lever length or complexity of the exercises. As was discussed last month, our abdominals allow movement through a number of different planes, brought about through flexing, rotating and bending the torso. Along with bringing about these movements, the muscles of the core must also resist forces pulling in the opposite direction. This resistant force initially starts as gravity, but can be increased through the addition of extra loads.
At the activation stage, we addressed each muscle as a stabiliser, now we will begin to integrate movement to engage specific muscles as prime movers. The core is often only thought of in terms of stabilisation and maintaining posture, however core muscles are also fundamental in bringing about movement, particularly in sports specific scenarios such as golf or tennis. Core training is still applicable for training protocols revolving around aesthetics, with loading core specific movements eccentrically shown as one of the most efficient ways to develop hypertrophy.
The muscle in question will contract in order to bring about that movement while a resisting force pulls in the opposite direction. This resistant force is usually gravity, which can be increased through additional weight.
Wood Chop – Through adopting the same set position as our oblique activation we pull the cable out in front of the chest, make sure the shoulders are set back and your arms are fully straight. From this position we are now going to rotate over the planted leg. Try and move through a full range finishing the movement when you have rotated 90 degrees.
Leg Lowers – Lie on the ground and bring your legs up to 90 degrees. In this position, ensure you are engaging through your core and pushing the lower back down into the mat. From here lightly squeeze the Pilates ball and lower the legs to the floor, keeping them at the 90 degree angle. It is important to keep a solid connection to the ground and resist the lower back from arching and ensuring the rectus abdominus is working throughout the movement.
45 Degree Side Bend – Adjust the apparatus so that your hips are just off the top of the pad. Place your hands on your temples and slowly bend to your side to full range. The posterior chain must be fully engaged during this exercise, this is done by squeezing the glutes and hamstrings. When returning to the start position, it is important not to over extend past the horizontal start position.