“Anti-core training” is a massively important piece of the athletic development puzzle.
The term “anti” refers to the resisting of lumbar flexion, extension and lateral flexion during certain movements. The core was actually designed to resist movement, not create it, so these type of anti movements challenge your body to resist unwanted forces. That means being able to brace, breathe and stabilize in and around your core. When your core’s strong enough to resist unwanted movement, it no longer acts as an energy leak. That means improvement in almost every facet of athletic performance.
One of the biggest bang-for-your-buck core movements is the Stability Ball Around the World. This exercise forces you to stabilize a plank position on an unstable surface while introducing some upper body movement in a circular fashion.
It works by creating movement upstream from the midsection and challenging your anterior core musculature to stabilize the rest of the body while only the shoulders move the ball. This exercise can have huge strength impacts to the core due to the isolated functional activity of the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis and obliques group.
By itself, this is honestly one of my top 5 favorite—and most effective—core exercises. But I recently found a way to make it even more efficient.
As seen in the demo video above, the addition of band resistance allows an athlete to get even more out of this exercise.
Pushing the body away from the ball against band tension better activates the upper back and serratus anterior. These muscles are crucial for postural and shoulder health. This hollows out the anterior core, putting the torso in a better position for breathing and abdominal bracing.
Also, the band resistance can make each revolution of the ball a bit tougher. This really challenges the athlete to master the size of the circular motion of the ball. Bite off more than you can chew? You may faceplant! And we don’t want that.
Aim to truly own each aspect of this movement and you will see an enormous improvement in your core strength and stability. In addition to those things, the transfer to big lifts will be evident. This enhances the body’s ability to absorb, transfer and repurpose force—all things we need from our athletes who want to be elite.
If you’re looking for more ways to include the ball and band into your core training, here are three more of my favorites that deliver incredible core-strengthening results for athletes.