Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Core Stability Series



  1. Exercise of the week - Plank
The plank is a very effective exercise that works on core stability and focuses on isometric ally supporting the core (abdomen & lower back). The exercise focuses on reinforcing the neutral spine of one individual self.  This subtle exercise can turn challenging when movement is added to it.
To get into this position, you should be facing the floor in a prone position. This is similar to a press-up position; however, you are balancing yourself on your forearms and your toes. The individual maintains a neutral spine in this position and is challenged to maintain this position as the period increases.

Progression




Beginner



 Intermediate





Advanced


Performance meter
This exercise is a very good inclusion in your workout because it stabilises the muscles that helps to maintain a healthy posture.

  1. Exercise of the week – Bird dog
·         The starting position is initiated when you assume an all-fours position, arms under your shoulder and knees under hips. In this position you will be maintaining a neutral alignment of your spine.
·         Please do note that your shoulder blades (scapulae) will be depressed down or closer to the spine. In a sense you won’t be to tense on the shoulder.
·         In this position you’re not letting your belly drop to the floor, you are maintaining a minimal contraction in your abdomen.
·         The movement is then initiated by simultaneously raising your alternate arm and leg of the floor, until they are parallel to the floor.
·         The movement can then be repeated by alternating the other arm and leg.

Performance meter
·         The exercise is performed with great precision and control.
·         The position of the pelvis should always remain constant while performing the movement.
·         The movement should be initiated from the core (centre) of the body, it is a conscious effort.




  1. Exercise of the week – Side plank
Side plank is a very effective core stability exercise and it activates the obliques. You need to position yourself onto your sides, stacking your left foot on top of the right and resting your right forearm on the floor with your palms resting on the floor.
Please note that you are maintaining a neutral spine in this position and then lifting your side from the ground. The position challenges you to maintain a neutral spine while you are balancing your body weight on your right forearm and on the side of foot.
Make sure that the supporting hand is directly under your shoulder and you maintain an ‘open chest posture’ at all times. You are maintaining a neutral spine and the shoulders are relaxed so you don’t feel unwanted tension on your neck. Another important parameter is that you have to keep your hip in line with your spine, the moment you drop your hip the purpose of the exercise is lost.



Stages of Progression

Beginner

In this level, please note that you balancing yourself on your forearm and on the side of your knee. The same parameters are involved while executing this exercise.

·         You have to maintain a neutral spine (neck in line with your tailbone) and the distance of your neck.
·         Maintain an ‘open chest posture’
·         Don’t let your hip drop to the floor
·         The balancing arm is in perfect alignment with your shoulder


Intermediate

In this level, please note that you are balancing yourself on your forearm and on the inside of your foot.

 The same parameters are involved while executing this exercise.
·         You have to maintain a neutral spine (neck in line with your tailbone) and the distance of your neck.
·         Maintain an ‘open chest posture’
·         Don’t let your hip drop to the floor
·         The balancing arm is in perfect alignment with your shoulder






Advanced


In the advanced level, you are balancing your side on your palm. Your balancing arm is extended and in line with your shoulder.

The same parameters are involved while executing this exercise.
·         You have to maintain a neutral spine (neck in line with your tailbone) and the distance of your neck.
·         Maintain an ‘open chest posture’
·         Don’t let your hip drop to the floor
·         The balancing arm is in perfect alignment with your shoulder

Performance meter
·         Individuals with shoulder injuries need to progress with caution or at their own pace.
·         Breathe at a normal pace and avoid holding your breath.


  1. Exercise of the week - Glute Bridge
  2. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. In this position you maintain your neutral spine (the normal curvature of your back).
    You initiate the movement using your glutes and move your hips toward the ceiling.  Only your shoulders and heels should remain in contact with the floor.
    Hold this position and then lower your hips toward the floor.
    See to that you don’t get your glutes in contact with the floor.
    See to that you keep your core activated at all times.
    Don’t drop your hips while performing the movement.
    Performance meter
    The execution of this exercise should be continuous. Even though it activates the glutes, it is a good mobility exercise for the lumbar spine. Individuals who lead a sedentary life or perform their daily activities in front of the computer will find this exercise extremely beneficial for their lower back. 




  1. Exercise of the week – Reverse plank
  2. Lie down on the floor in a supine position. With you palms on the ground, your body elongated and in a neutral position.
    Push yourself up into a reverse plank (either on elbows or straight arms).  See to that you maintain a neutral position throughout the movement.
Progression


Beginner





Intermediate

Performance meter

Maintain the body in a neutral position and see to that you don't let your hips fall or rise. Be sure not to hold breath.



Frank Mapranny,
HOD Fitness,
Frank Mapranny

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