Increase Core Strength and Mobility With the Anterior Core Breaker

STACK Expert Georges Dagher demonstrates what he calls the Anterior Core Breaker, a full-body move that confers many benefits.

Let's be honest: not everyone has the time to live at the gym or visit the gym daily. And believe it or not, some people don't like the gym at all! Whether you're an athlete, a weekend warrior or an average Joe/Jane, you all have one thing in common: life outside the gym. The Anterior Core Breaker serves as a functional addition to your tool box to increase mobility and save your hips and shoulders.

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Watch this exercise in the above video. The beauty of it is that in order to move your arms and legs at the same time in a smooth and controlled fashion, you need lots of help from the muscles in your torso, more commonly referred to as the core. Why is this a beautiful thing? Because you're elongating your body in a controlled fashion, stressing your anterior connective tissue through an eccentric and concentric range of motion, and simultaneously building full-body strength and improving control of your core.

If you have trouble with shoulder mobility and regularly practice Back-to-Wall Shoulder Flexion, the Anterior Core Breaker is particularly beneficial. You have to maintain control of your torso as you move your arms overhead, which reinforces the movement pattern for shoulder flexion in overhead exercises. It also challenges you to break out of your habitual seated position, encourages mobility, and forces your hip flexors—both single and multi-joint—through their entire ROM, leading to stronger and more functional hips.

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This movement delivers many other benefits, but the last one I will stress is coordination—your arms and legs need to be in sync to come together and move apart in a controlled and stable fashion.

This movement might be a good addition to solidify the increased ROM you're acquiring from working on shoulder mobiliy or foam rolling your hips. Your core guides, supports and controls the fluidity of the movement.  The added resistance to your upper body encourages mobility, and the process of bringing the weight back to the starting position strengthens your muscles.

When should you incorporate this movement? I usually perform it at the end of my workout, when I want to engage my anterior core from head to toe. Try 2-3 sets of 5-10 slow and controlled reps.

Move more, talk less and stay curious!

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Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock