What I want to look at today are anti-rotation exercises. Now, many people are familiar with kind of standard band exercises or other anti-rotation exercises in a gym using a cable machine. We love them because one of the key things that your brain needs in order to move well is midline stability.
So your capacity to maintain stability, while being rotated, one direction of the other under load is a really, really great exercise. However, one of the questions that always comes up is “how do I progress this?”
So I want to take you through a simple progression using one band, one attachment point that doesn’t require a lot of room or a lot of movement that you can use to really increase the stability requirements for your midline. So the standard exercise that we teach, I’m using right now what is called a Pat Band from Flexvit. I’m going to look down at my feet and make sure that I’m in a semi-comfortable athletic position. My feet are a little bit spread, I feel nice and stable. I hold the band to my midline and I simply push it out. Alright, so I’m going to just do that 10 or 15 seconds. Nice little isometric contraction or I can add some movement to it.
The way that we increase the intensity here is not by changing the band pull or by changing the intensity of the band, but instead by changing our body position. So the next thing that we’re going to do is we’re going to go to a narrow stance. You will immediately notice it if you put your feet together and you begin that same pushing out process with the band, the intensity of the exercise is going to go up significantly. You’ll feel yourself working a lot harder. So we begin in kind of a comfortable athletic neutral stance. Then we go feet together. We repeat that same 10 or 15 seconds worth of work. From there we want to go into a tandem stance.
So now I’m going to put my left foot in front of my right foot. My toe is touching my heel. I try and get up nice and strong and lengthen the spine. And once again, I start to go through my press and you notice that I’m having to slow down considerably because the perturbation from the band is making my midline work harder in order to maintain balance. So that was my left foot forward. Now I need to go right foot forward. So once again, I get into position, I press out with the band and either do my isometric hold or go through some different repetitions. Just pushing the band out and pulling it in. From there, we want to try a version of a single-leg stance. All right, so I go back to my feet together position. What you will notice with the band to my right. If I push out, I will probably be fairly comfortable lifting my left leg. I’ll be working really hard.
You’re going to feel this a lot in your foot, a lot in the glute area and hip and low back of your stance leg. But again, the band’s to my right. So standing on my right foot is pretty manageable for most people. However, if I then say, I want you to go into a left foot stance, the workload goes up so much that most people fall over.
So if the band is to your right, what I’m going to recommend when you’re working toward a single leg stance is to begin in this closed position and instead of completely lifting the right foot off the ground simply go up on the toes of that right foot and again you’ll feel a super dramatic increase in the intensity of the exercise. So this is a simple progression that I like to use to help improve midline stability for people utilizing anti-rotation exercise depending on your presentation. You may re-assess better having the band to the right, you may re-assess better having the band to the left. I don’t know. I don’t know you.
I would recommend that you actually test that and see, maybe I need to do 30 seconds with a band of my right, and only 10, or 15 seconds with a band to the left to make sure that my brain is getting the stimulus that it needs.
I will tell you that over time band right and band left, and then actually adding diagonals to this as well, can be incredibly valuable. So I just want to give you kind of this basic format – athletic stance, feet together, tandem stance, single leg and kind of an assisted single leg is a great place to start. Aim for 15 to 30 seconds per position. Give it a shot, let us know how it goes.