Your core is more than a "6-pack" and obliques. The core muscles include the rectus abdominus, internal and external obliques, multifidus, erector spinae, transverse abdominus, diaphragm, quadratus laborum (QL), and pelvic floor muscles. With all of these muscles involved, it's understandable that core workouts are more than just doing planks and dead bugs. Although if you're in one of my training programs, you likely see variations of those two often. Core training also includes rotation and anti-rotation movements. Rotation Rotational exercises help you produce power and explosiveness through a specific range of motion. Although you likely see many athletes such as snowboarders, skiers, and golfers incorporating rotational exercises, it is just as important for runners, hikers, and the general population to practice. 1. Wood Chops using a dumbbell, cables, or resistance bands is one of the most common rotation exercises. Wood Chops encourage power development from the core and the hips. 2. Side Plank with a Reach is less explosive than a wood chop, but continues to develop rotational strength and stability through the core. 3. Russian Twists have recently been getting a bad rap on social media, but I continue to use it in some programs anyway. Why? It's an accessible rotation exercise that teaches you how to use your core in a safe range of motion. View the video below for examples of rotation exercises.
Anti-Rotation The purpose of anti-rotation is to train your core to stabilize and avoid rotation when force or resistance is applied. 1. Whether you're new to working out or have been in the game for years, Bird Dogs are a great anti-rotational exercise to include in your training program. Bird Dogs require stability throughout the body to avoid over-rotating, curving the low back, or tipping over. 2. A plank variation that is seen in some of my training programs, including KATHLETICS Trail, is Shoulder Taps. Shoulder Taps require stability to avoid over-rotating at the hips, as well as maintaining control through your upper body. 3. One of my favorite anti-rotation exercises is the Pallof Press, better yet, make it a 1/2 Kneeling Pallof Press. Starting this exercise in the half kneeling position requires more stability and control from the glute in addition to the core. View the video below for examples of anti-rotation exercises.
It's important to note that both rotation and anti-rotation core exercises are beneficial for overall strength, stability, and power.