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Episode 197: 3D Core Strength Exercises

Video Highlights

- Three-Dimensional Core Ability
- Training the Core in Athletic Positions
- Endless Variability to Build Core Strength

Today we’re going to take a quick look at the Z-Health approach to three dimensional core training.

A couple weeks ago, I was working out with a friend of mine, and we got into this conversation around core training. He’s a police officer, he said, “Hey, what are some things I can do to work on my core for more functional strength?”

It led into a cool conversation, because one of the things that we’ve known for a long time from research, is that if you’re doing other types of training, you’re doing heavy lifting, you move other stuff around, there’s not a lot of benefit from doing a lot of isolated work with the core. However, from a functional perspective, I was saying, “What we try to do in Z-Health, is look at this three dimensionally, and always say, ‘How can I incorporate building a stronger core of the body into other exercises?'”

What I’m going to take you through today, is a simplified approach, or simplified version of some of these things that we do. It’s a really easy template to remember and when it comes to training, it’s one of the things I talk a lot about, is that I want you have to have templates to follow in your head. Not so that you’re a slave to one exercise, but that you have options, particularly to focus on options that make you feel better.

What we’re going to start off with, is recognizing that any time I’m doing rotational work, I’m obviously working on the core of the body. In fact, there’s no exercise that you can do, that doesn’t cause some stimulus, or some tension to occur here. If we really want to focus on it, one thing we can focus on or practice, is working on a really nice tall spinal posture, while we are either rotating, or resisting rotation. Both of those are really valuable skills for the body to learn.

What we’re going to do, is we’re going to combine a band with what we call our template lunge positions. Let me take you through the lunge positions first, and then from there, I’ll show you how to do this with a band. Very simply, you want to stand up in a nice tall posture, and imagine that you are standing in the center of a compass. What we’re going to do, is we’re going to step to eight, the eight major points of a compass, so if I were to take my left foot, and put it directly in front of me, what I want to do is, bend the front leg, lock the rear leg, nice tall posture, hips are facing straight ahead. All right, so that’s step number one.

Number two, I’m going to step out on a 45 degree angle, same exact positioning, front leg is bent, rear leg is straight. I’m then going to step to the side, a lateral lunge position. The lunging leg is bent, other leg is straight. Now, we have a posterior 45. For this one, I’m going to step back, make sure that my toes are facing forward, place my heel down, and then sit back into that foot, okay, or sit back into that knee. For this particular position, again, the rear leg is bent, front leg is straight, and then finally I can step directly back, again keeping everything in line, keeping this position, working on that long spine.

Now, I would then repeat that on the opposite side, right? So now the right leg is going through all the different positions. Now, the reason I love to work with the lunges is we tell people that all sport, all athleticism, is about lunging. Most sports require you to make lunging motions, lunging positions, with different foot angles and different body positions, so a basic athletic skill is being really awesome at lunging.

3D Core Training:  An athletic woman is doing elbow to knee core training.

Now that you have that template in mind, what we’re going to do now is we’re going to add the band to it, to give ourselves some strengthening work for the core. Now, for this particular set, for this video, I’m just going to have you do what’s called anti-rotation. In essence, we’re going to take a band, we’re going to put it in this hand, where you’ve got it tied about waist level, and we’re going to give a little bit of tension on it. Now, as I hold the tension here, I can make it easier by bringing my hands in, I can make it harder by taking my arms out.

All right, so for now as you’re learning, I’m going to recommend that you have the band close to your chest. From here, all that we’re going to do, is get in a nice tall posture, and start working our way through our lunges. Since you’re new to this probably, I’m going to have you start with an anterior 45 lunge, get in this position, push the band out for six seconds, and then bring it back in. Then you’re going to step into a lateral lunge. Again, thinking nice and tall, making sure that you have the knee bend here, press out, hold for six seconds, bring it back in. Come back up, now we’re going to go into that posterior 45.

Again, I’m taking my time. There’s no reason to rush through this, we’re not trying to get our heart rate up so much, we’re trying to make sure that we’re moving well. Reach back, put the toe of the foot down, roll down to the heel, bend the knee, adjust your position, and push out. If you’re pushing out, if you have a really heavy band, or whatever you can obviously skip that part.

Now we’ve done some work here. We also want to go through these on the opposite side, so for this one, I’m going to step forward on my right foot. This feels a little bit strange, because the band is actually pulling you toward the wall, or wherever you have it attached, so this requires you to work in a different way to decelerate. I’m in that anterior 45, push out again, six seconds, come back. I like to put a little tension, and then step toward the wall. You can see the band kind of comes a little further across, so now whenever I go into that isometric, feels a little bit different, and then you go into that posterior 45 here, and push out.

Excellent. When you do that, like I said, what you’re going to feel is a lot of counter, or anti-rotation work, which we know is very important for the core. What we want to do is go through that with ta band pulling from our right to our left, and then obviously change positions and go from left to right. If you want to make it more complicated, you can then take the band and tie it high or low, and now you’re going to get these whatever you call, superior and inferior wood chop positions, so you’re getting a band pulling you up or down, which also requires the core to work a lot differently.

Whenever we talk about core strength in Z-Health, we talk about three dimensional ability, the ability to rotate, the ability to resist rotation in all planes of motion. I love using bands in combination with this lower body template to really work the core of the body in what I consider to be athletic, more functional positions. Let’s do a quick summary of this three dimensional approach to core training. Really, really simple.

We’re going to stand, have a band pulling from right or left, or left to right. It can be attached high, middle, or low. What we’re next going to do is work through our lunge positions. Now, as I demoed in the video, I showed you three positions per foot. You can actually do up to five, because you can step directly forward, anterior 45, directly lateral, posterior 45, and directly posterior. The reason I didn’t put in the directly anterior and posterior, as I said when you’re new, that’s more challenging, and it will give us some more balance issues.

In each position, let’s say I’m doing a lateral lunge, I’m nice and tall, I have the band tight to my chest, I then push out. Remember to hold for six seconds. In the video, I wasn’t doing a full six seconds, because I’m just talking, and didn’t want to take too much of your time, so remember, six seconds to eight seconds, if you want, per hold, work your way around both sides of the body. You can do multiple sets of this if you like it, if it feels good, otherwise one set done progressively over time, using a heavier band, will do a lot for the abs and core.

Give this a shot, if you have any questions let us know, otherwise, good luck.

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