There are only a few things you can count on in this world: death, taxes, the Patriots in the AFC Championship game, and you need more direct trunk training and rowing in your training program.
I’ve covered the function of the “core” in the past. Whether you have back pain, you crumble in the bottom of a front squat, or are working for that 6 pack, direct trunk training is vital and often part of the solution. And before you say squatting and deadlifting is enough core training, think about where you heard that-most likely a genetic freak or fat powerlifter. Odds are, you’re not one of them, so make it a mainstay in your training.
What’s important to remember is that whole webbing of musculature around your midsection works to keep your spine from exploding by resisting force, so it keeps your spine from overextending (stripper back), flexing ( like quasimoto), flexing sideways (ie: the trailer park chick with a baby on the hip), and rotating.
Think of training your trunk in 3 phases:
- static, like holding a plank
- dynamic, like a side plank with a row
- integrated, like an ab wheel rollout
The biggest issue with this system is that once people graduate to things like rollouts and Turkish get ups, they often don’t know where to go to progress further, aside from increasing the weight or adding reps. You can absolutely do these things, but this variation adds some loading and integrates the upper body quite a bit more than the ab wheel.
These are absolute ab killers. Truth be told, I stole this from Dustin Myers, who is the strength and conditioning coach at the Ohio Regional Training Center for wrestling. Even though I’m a Penn State fan, I don’t discriminate from stealing from a rival when they have great stuff.
- These work best when you use a slam ball, as it’s big enough to get both hands on, unlike a traditional rubber ball and slides around less
- Make sure to keep your abs and ass tight so you don’t start arching
- Think about reaching over your head as you walk the ball out. Otherwise, it’ll get to a point just above your face where you clamp your lats down and start bending through the spine
I like keeping rollouts under 12 reps for the most part and just add to the difficulty of the exercise instead of just adding more and more reps since the idea of doing sets of 20 bores the shit out of me, but you can certainly play around with this.
Try it out, and if you think it’s good stuff, don’t be shy about sharing it with someone else who you think could benefit. Also remember that you can subscribe to my YouTube page for more free exercise demos for ideas or to help clear up any technique issues you might be having.