Are You Stable?

Back pain

You might think me asking that question is pretttyyy ironic, and who can blame you? 🙂

However the kind of stability I am talking about is core stability. Now if you are a training geek you may know this terminology is not without controversy, but for simplicity's sake, let's just call it that for now.

So let's get down to it.

If you want to move better and stay pain free, you gotta train core stability, and more importantly, train it correctly. (AKA, not doing endless situps and crunches).

There are a number of different facets to core stability training that you need to know, and need to train.

Anterior core stability is what we need to resist excessive lumbar spine extension, or arching the back. Think planks and pushup holds.

Posterior core stability is what we need to resist excessive lumbar spine flexion, or rounding the back. Birddogs is one exercise to help with this.

Lateral core stability is what we need to resist lateral flexion, think single arm loaded carries for an exercise that works on this.

Rotary core stability exercises teach you to resist excessive rotation through the lumbar spine (low back). The lumbar spine is only designed to move 2-3 degrees per facet, so it's super important we know how to stabilize in this plane of motion. We use exercises like the Pallof Press to train this "anti-rotation".

We commonly use bands to perform the Pallof Press, and there are a number of different ways you can make the exercise appropriate for your current ability. We can move further from or closer to the wall. We can take a parallel or split stance. Even which foot is in the outside position makes a difference. 

Recently Nancy and I were filming some training videos, and she thought it would be really funny to progress the Pallof by adding a sandbag. Ok, not really, but watch the video and check out what happens when you add vertical load (the sandbag) plus switch the feet. You want to talk about firing up the core. I think I can still feel it! 🙂

As someone who has fought back challenges since my early twenties, I can attest that training my ability to stabilize through all the planes of motion has made a huge impact in reducing my pain and keeping me healthy enough to train hard. Exercises like these may not be the sexiest or most fun, but you neglect them at your own peril.

Doing the little things make big things happen!

Keep training hard.

- DC

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