Students often want to do the same supine abdominal crunches and oblique bicycle exercises because these make them feel comfortable and confident. The following partner-based core-strengthening exercises are familiar, but they also offer new challenges. Teach students how to stabilize the core and move the spine in flexion, rotation and extension. As always, be sure to modify as needed.
Resisted Spinal Flexion on Stability Ball
- Student A rests on stability ball with lumbar area supported, head and shoulders off ball.
- Student B sits behind ball, securely holding light- to moderate-resistance tube at midpoint with both hands.
- Student A securely holds tube handles—elbows bent, palms up—near shoulders. Neck is in neutral position, abdominals are engaged, and feet are hip width apart.
- Student B sits into V-sit position, balancing in front of tailbone. Spine is in neutral; either knees are bent or legs are extended along sides of ball.
- Student A inhales; exhales into spinal flexion, bringing rib cage toward hip bones; releases to neutral; and repeats (the ball does not move).
- Student B continues to stabilize in V-sit position against pull of tube.
Repeat 10–15 times; switch.
Resisted V-Sit Rotation
- Partners sit back-to-back in V-sit formation on separate mats, exercise tubes linked in X configuration. Handles are securely held in each hand near bottom ribs, with elbows at sides.
- Both students have neutral spine and engaged abdominals with knees bent (easier) or legs out in front (more difficult).
- Students adjust positions to ensure there is enough resistance.
- In unison, partners inhale (prepare) and then exhale, each student pressing right arm out, slightly up and away from body, while rotating right shoulder forward. Left shoulder is slightly back.
- Partners inhale, return to center and exhale to other side (alternate sides).
Repeat 10–15 times. Both students move right arms at same time, then left arms at same time.
Resisted Spinal Extension
- Students lie prone, crowns of heads facing each other. Resistance tubes are linked in X formation. Each partner securely holds handles.
- Legs are hip width apart, abdominals contracted, faces just above mat; cervical spine is in neutral.
- Students hold handles overhead with arms lengthened, so there is resistance on tube. They inhale (prepare) and, exhaling, perform a lat pull-down. Elbows bend and come down, stopping at approximately 90 degrees of flexion. Arms are slightly above, and parallel to, floor.
- Students inhale again and extend spine (lifting away from floor). Arms are kept in lat pull-down position. On exhalation, partners return to start.
Repeat 10–15 times.
Note: Be cognizant of participants with low-back problems.
What programs or fitness equipment are you finding most popular with participants as they begin to return to in-person training?
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