As a quick note, the extended Extended Holiday Sale for my Optimizing Movement DVDs ends this Saturday (12/14). If you’re interested in grabbing a copy, you can save 20% until Saturday here: Optimizing Movement
In this “Throwback Thursday” segment, I wanted to bring back a few exercises that I think can be extremely effective in challenging core stabilization patterns in athletes as well as a lot of fun. The exercises are what I describe (all the way back in 2008!) as reactive core training exercises. We continue to apply this concept in a variety of ways in our current programs, including with partner perturbations and active arm or leg movements both with and without external resistance. We’ve also used stability balls (or physioballs) in place of medicine balls and have used tall kneeling and half-kneeling positions for the belly press (e.g. Pallof Press) and overhead stabilization patterns shown below.
One more reason why I like these posts (I combined 4 short posts below), is that it mentions the fact that a side plank, in additional to being a lateral core stabilization pattern, is also a great shoulder stabilization exercise. The key here is to not just “sit” in that shoulder, but to actively push yourself away from the ground. When you do this, the muscles around your scapula (shoulder blade) and shoulder engage to help support the position. Since this video was filmed, we’ve also transitioned to having all of our athletes go palm(s) down on front and side plank variations, and typically use a slower perturbation rate than what is displayed here. Enjoy the videos and feel free to post any questions/comments you have below!
Reactive Core Training
Core training receives more publicity than any other aspect of training. The fact is, even people with a great understanding of how to train the core for its true functions, stability and force transfer, still miss out on one thing. In many instances, the core functions reactively. In other words, some movement (sensory input) causes the core muscles to fire (motor output) to produce stability. While I love planking, those exercises are limited in their ability to train the core to be reactive.
Another one of my favorite reactive core training exercises is the overhead medicine ball perturbation. Same concept as previous exercises: maintain a stiff, stable core in the presence of an external force or perturbation. Holding the med ball overhead maximizes instability as it raises your center of mass (higher COM=greater instability). Check it out:
See how it works? You just combine an explosive upper body/core power exercise with a reactive core stabilization exercise. Now you’re alternating being explosive and stable.
To your success,
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Kevin has rapidly established himself as a leader in the field of physical preparation and sports science for ice hockey. He is currently the Head Performance Coach for the Boston Bruins, where he oversees all aspects of designing and implementing the team’s performance training program, as well as monitoring the players’ performance, workload and recovery. Prior to Boston, Kevin spent 2 years as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the San Jose Sharks after serving as the Director of Performance at Endeavor Sports Performance in Pitman, NJ. He also spent 5 years as a Strength and Conditioning Coach with USA Hockey’s Women’s Olympic Hockey Team, and has been an invited speaker at conferences hosted by the NHL, NSCA, and USA Hockey.