Your core is a complex group of muscles that include the superficial ones such as the abs, latissimus dorsi (lats), external/internal obliques, glutes and lateral hip. And the more deep musculature including the transverse abdominals, mutifidus, diaphragm, pelvic floor as well as many other deeper muscles. Basically almost every movement we make incorporates the engagement of our core. And that is the lead reasoning why we need to be training it.
The core works to produce either an isometric or dynamic stabilization component that is crucial in safely initiating and maintaining strong movement during (eg. the overhead press, squat or a deadlift), the effective transfer of force (eg. throwing a fast ball, a punch, sprinting or during grappling takedown)and maintaining efficient and optimal posture for long term health of our musculoskeletal system.
The core has a three dimensional component meaning that it’s function is integrated into all movement within the sagittal, frontal and traverse planes. In the sagittal plane the core is most commonly trained using isometric exercise like a standard plank or it’s more dynamic cousin the push-up. These are movements that quantify an anti-extension quality of the trunk so as to be able to produce a quality movement like a strict push-up or overhead press for example. And it is pretty common to see these exercises used plentiful in most gyms and fitness programming. Although there are certainly perturbations of these exercises they basically stress the sagittal aspect of the core’s competence.
During most of our training at The Lift we purposely integrate most movement within our program design to influence all three planes of the core (proper). But I will say that the sagittal plane probably gets the most love. So to give the core a bit more well rounded attention during our training phases we regularly incorporate two movements that bring it all together to specifically address the sagittal, frontal and transverse qualities of the core. The Devil’s Wheel Rollout and The Pallof Press are our go to’s here. The Devil’s Wheel Rollout is a more advanced version of a dynamic plank and The Pallof Press addresses the far too often missed incorporation of the core’s anti-flexion/anti-rotation capabilities.
Before attempting the Devil’s Wheel Rollout I would recommend that you have a solid :90 second plank locked down. Queues here would be 1. butt tight and locked under you 2. take a deep belly breath in 3. Lock wrists in neutral 4. Roll-Out and hold breath 5. Come back to start as you exhale with a ‘fighter release’ breath out.
And in the Pallof Press the queues would be 1. Hold band in overhand press position 2. Stand perpendicular and adequate distance from fixed anchor 3. zip up quads…squeeze glutes…and get gutt punch ready 4. Take a deep breath in and lock down shoulders 5. Press the band out in front of you as you exhale with a ‘fighter release’ breath out. Repeat for 10 total reps then turn and repeat same for other side. The recommended band use would be red for beginner and black for a more advanced trainee. We recommend the one and only Dave ‘The Band Man’ Schmitz’ site RBT resistance band training as a go to resource for all of your resistance band needs. Dave also has some great tutorial vids on there…so check him out at resistance band training