Cut to the Core

Core: Stimulate the core muscles to activate and stabilize, using two readily available pieces of equipment.

Training the core requires an exercise regime that goes beyond a simple “abs and back” workout. A strong base of support at the core of the body allows for better transfer of forces to the extremities. The human kinetic chain is able to transfer load optimally because of the relationships of two functionally integrated musculoskeletal groups known as the inner unit and outer unit. The inner core muscles assist in stabilizing the spine and pelvis, whereas the outer core muscles are the movers of the spine.

When teaching core moves, aim to utilize inner and outer musculature as you would in daily life, allowing natural mobility in bending, extending, rotating, and stabilizing movement. Adding a BOSU® Balance Trainer or stability ball to your core workouts is a great way to achieve this. A core-focused, whole-body plan will develop a strong, stable power center and create a functionally fit body.

Here are some tips:

  • Begin new exercises with the easiest balance position, and encourage controlled movement at all times.
  • As clients master a move, progress it by manipulating balance challenge variables (reducing points of contact; changing focal point; adding a movement or an external stimulus, such as a weighted ball or dumbbell).
  • As participants progress, cue decreased range of motion until they learn the new motor pattern.
  • Have clients anchor the pelvis when training trunk mobility and maintain a neutral spine when training trunk stability.
  • Make sure participants are aware of their breath and know how to transition safely on the ball or BOSU trainer.

Extended Kick Crunch on BOSU Balance Trainer

Begin lying supine on the BOSU trainer, lumbar spine centered, feet hip width apart on floor, knees bent and arms extended overhead, maintaining neutral neck alignment. Flex trunk and simultaneously draw one knee and both elbows toward center of body. Once flexed, continue to extend leg and elbows, bringing leg perpendicular and arms parallel to floor. Hold, and slowly return to start.

  • Alternate legs.
  • Perform 8–20 repetitions.
  • Hold weighted ball with both hands to challenge balance and add resistance.
  • Easier variation: cross arms and focus only on leg and trunk movement.

Lateral Trunk Flexion

Start side-lying over BOSU trainer, hips centered and stacked, both legs extended and “scissored” so that top leg is in front. Adjust distance between legs for appropriate balance challenge (wider position is more stable). Place one hand behind head and top arm at side. Lower torso toward floor until you feel slight side stretch. From this position, laterally flex away from floor. Focus on drawing bottom of rib cage closer to hip. Hold, and then lower down with control.

  • Perform 8–20 reps.
  • Repeat on both sides.
  • To increase resistance, bend both arms.
  • Initiate movement from trunk, avoiding neck pull.
  • Don’t let hips and shoulders move forward and back.
  • Add hip abduction for increased balance challenge.

Trunk Extension With Rotation

Begin kneeling on floor, torso draped prone over ball, hips and abdomen centered, “hugging” ball. Forehead rests against backs of hands. Gently press pelvis into ball, and slowly extend spine. Continue extension as you rotate trunk to one side, keeping elbows open and scapulae gently retracted. Slowly lower down.

  • Perform 8–20 repetitions.
  • Alternate sides.
  • To decrease balance challenge, drop to kneeling position.
  • To increase resistance, place one arm down by side, while other arm is extended overhead. n

© 2009 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

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Carol Murphy

IDEA Author/Presenter
Carol Murphy, a finalist for the 2008 IDEA Instructor of the Year, is a master trainer for Resist-A-... more less
November 2009

© 2009 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

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