Advanced Anti-Rotation Core Strengthening Exercises

Core-strengthening exercises such as landmine progressions are among the most versatile tools trainers use with athletes.

You like to show off your abs, huh? Well, having ripped abs does not mean you have a strong core. A strong core encompasses the entire musculature of the torso, including the abdominals, obliques, erectors, glutes, hip flexors, lats and adductors. The core can also act on the shoulders, scapulae, spine, pelvis and hips. It can produce, reduce and resist spinal flexion, extension, lateral flexion and rotation.

Core-strengthening exercises such as Landmine progressions are among the most versatile tools used by trainers. In the videos above, I demonstrate some of my favorite anti-rotation Landmine exercises. Performing any rotational movement should be sport-specific, bracing the core while limiting trunk rotation to create adequate core and hip stability as well as sufficient range of motion for your sport.

According to Dr. Stuart McGill, various anti-rotation exercises can easily go bad. Many people who perform them lack discipline within the ribcage, which exposes the spine. The ultimate goal is to keep the ribcage locked to the pelvis, rotating the hips and removing pressure from the spine and into the working muscles. However, with these progressions, the mobility of the "hip complex"—the core that cannot be seen—must do the bulk of the work (with help from the upper body) to complement the movement. Check out the video player above for a demonstration of each exercise.

Important notes about these type of exercise:

  • It doesn't pull you into flexion like a Sit-Up. You flex at the hips—which is perfectly OK—but your back should always be in a neutral, or straight, position. You need a fairly strong core to get into this position, so the exercise is not for beginners. If you can't hold the position with a neutral spine, don't do it.
  • You might not think this is sport-specific, since it doesn't directly look like an athletic movement. However, the fundamental pattern is very athletic, as you must resist rotation when your body is in challenging positions.

Benefits

  • It allows you to work the anti-rotator functions of the core in a standing or seated position.
  • The front support and side support positions of the exercise provide the greatest stimulus to the rectus abdominals and external obliques.
  • It allows the core to be strengthened with no movement.
  • Works the hips, pelvis/groin areas.
  • Works the shoulders, forearms and grip strength.
  • Develops a strong, powerful core, which is needed to stabilize the body during explosive and big lifts.

Coaching Points

  • Set up in front of a landmine or grappler unit. If you do not have the tool, set the bar in a corner.
  • Pick one end of the landmine, either fist over fist or with an intertwined grip.
  • Your arm length and height determine how you are positioned at the bar; you need to find your specific position with the hold.
  • At first, it might seem tricky to get the bar off the ground into the starting position. Two important things: 1) Always start with a weight lighter than you think you can handle so you don't put too much stress on your spine; and 2) Take a deep breath in and brace your core when picking the weight up off the ground.
  • This is an anti-rotational exercise. It's important to stabilize your core throughout the entire exercise to prevent your lower spine from rotating. Any rotation should come from your upper back, which is designed to rotate.
  • If you don't have adequate range of motion or strength to get the bar to the opposite side, perform the movement through various progressions.
  • Only perform as a finisher or on mobility days.

References

  • Contreras, Bret. "Core Stability Training for the Advanced Lifter." The Glute Guy.
  • Contreras, Bret. "Spinal Rotation Exercises." The Glute Guy.
  • Boyle, Mike. "Is Rotation Training Hurting Your Performance? "Is Rotation Even a Good Idea? " http://www.strengthcoach.com/public/1107.cfm?sd=51.
  • YouTube. (2012, February 18). Chad Waterbury Landmine with Dr. McGill: Retrieved from https://youtu.be/oPzvjLcGWkU


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: CORE | MOBILITY | EXERCISE | LANDMINE | STABILIZE | RANGE OF MOTION | SPINE