Why you should STOP doing Sit Ups: A Short
What’s one way you can take your fitness training to another level?
I can confidently assume that 90% of us are not doing enough of this….
Rotational and Anti-rotational Core Training
Funny enough, we don't spend the majority of our lives moving forward and backward as most people might think. We move side to side and diagonally more often.
We move in EVERY DIRECTION. Placing the groceries on the shelves. Putting dishes into the dishwasher. Stepping in and out of the car. These often get overshadowed by fitness influencers displaying forward lunges and burpees on our timelines.
How functional is it really to train only one plane of motion?
NOT FUNCTIONAL AT ALL!
You won’t see an abdominal “pump” like you would your “mirror” muscles, but regardless, training core properly is one of the keys to injury reduction and improved physical performance.
We need to move in every plane of motion like we do in everyday life. If you’ve spent months or years exercising only forward-backward or side to side, this will be an important concept for you to embrace.
The three planes of motion that we move in every day are the:
- Sagittal – This plane divides the body into right and left sides. Movements in the sagittal plane are flexion and extension. You can move forward and backward or up and down. I.e curls, lunges, pushups
- Frontal – This plane divides the body into front and back sides. Movements in the frontal plane are abduction and adduction. You can move side to side. I.e lateral lunges, hip abduction, jumping jacks
- Transverse – This plane divides the body into top and bottom halves. Movements in the transverse plane are rotational, both internal and external rotation. Russian twists, med ball throws, trunk rotations
The most neglected in our workout routines is the Transverse Plane.
Increasing rotational strength will help you produce more explosiveness and power through your range of motion. Increasing anti-rotational strength will help stabilize the body when the force of your movement meets what you are hitting or you reach maximum range of motion.
Most of our workouts include Sagittal Plane movements (squats, deadlifts, pull ups and push ups) with a few movements in the Frontal Plane (side lunges, side shuffling, chest or back flyes). Core training must be done properly through all planes of motion to hit all the muscles involved and achieve maximum core strength and stability.
ADD THESE 5 ROTATIONAL / ANTI-ROTATION MOVEMENTS
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, hips back, and knees slightly bent, holding a dumbbell in both hands beside your right hip.
- Keeping your core engaged, back flat, and arms straight, swing the dumbbell up to shoulder height in front of you, and then down to the outside of your left hip. (As you swing the dumbbell up, squeeze your glutes, straighten your knees, and thrust your hips forward. As you swing it down, push your hips back and bend your knees slightly.)
- Repeat, this time swinging the dumbbell from left to right.
- Continue swinging it back and forth without pausing.
Russian Twists – A basic ab exercise everyone should know that can be done with a variety of equipment to challenge your core.
To do the basic Russian Twist,
- balance on your butt with your knees bent and feet off the ground.
- Hinge back a little with your upper body, maintaining a nice tall posture. Put your hands together.
- Rotate your upper body and arms from side to side, reaching your hands down to the ground by each hip.
- Keep your feet off the ground the entire time and move as quickly as possible.
*Can be done with a cable machine, resistance band, or even a weight plate.
- Stand perpendicular to the fixture
- turn at the torso, allowing hip rotation, then push away
- Control the movement on the eccentric until complete.
The ability to control rotation at the hip and low back when the arms and legs are moving is the first step to understanding and strengthening your ability to control rotation.
- Start in a quadruped (all fours) position with your hands beneath your shoulders and your knees beneath your hips. Use your abs to find a neutral ("flat") position at the low back and hips.
- Keep the hip from shifting or rotating and the low back from arching as you reach the opposite hand and leg out. Envision getting as long as you can from your heel to your fingertips. Also, imagine a glass of water on your low back. Do not allow the glass of water to spill (if you truly want to try this, use an empty plastic cup).
- Hold the end range of the movement for a 1-2 count and then return to the start position.
- Perform the same movement with the other arm and leg. Do not let the hips shift as you transition between sides. Alternate sides on each rep until you complete 6-8 reps per side.
- Shoulder height, assume your split stance
- Extend your arm holding the handle. Try to keep your shoulder blade “packed in place” and not let it come forward as it’s extended.
- Pull the handle back toward your chest, pause, and return to the start. As you pull, keep your core tight and don’t allow your hips or torso to twist!