In the last article on core endurance, I went over some pretty standard stuff to help you gain endurance in the core. If you don’t feel like clicking and reading, the reasons were pretty simple:

  • Research indicates that core endurance is more helpful for injury prevention
  • Being stable, while useful, isn’t quite as useful as stabilizing the lumbopelvic are while moving your other limbs
  • Movement with stability elsewhere gives us context.

To add, I defined the core as your pelvis and spine, or your back, butt, and abs. This keeps things pretty simple, all around.

So what you want to do now is introduce more context to go along with these same general ideas to progress and get stronger. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do today with another set of five exercises.


Hanging leg Raises

I like this particular one for a few reasons. For one thing, it’s dynamic, which is the goal. In addition to that, it tests the mettle of your grip since you have to hang from the pull-up bar. And it puts the spine in traction, which is a great feeling when you have all kinds of weight from your squats and deadlifts (not to mention gravity in general) compressing your spinal column.

So what you want to focus on here is twofold:

  • Don’t flail around. You want this to be a solid, smooth, and controlled movement. If you can’t get a good range of motion on it, bend your knees more. The less knee flexion you have, the harder it becomes
  • Like I mentioned in the last article, the plank is the basis. Start by doing a hanging plank
  • Squeeze the glutes, tighten the abs
  • Raise your legs with control
  • Squeeze your butt again as you lower to keep it control

One last tip that helps is to consider it a set of singles, as opposed to a set of reps. With that in mind, make sure you are back to your hanging plank position before you start the next rep.


Bird Dog Row

You’re familiar with the bird dog, I hope. If not, you start in a quadruped position—on hands and knees—with your shoulders over your hands. Then you kick your left leg out while squeezing the glute, and reach forward with your right hand. So it’s opposite arm and leg moving at once. Minimize the lower back arch by focusing on squeezing the glute of the working leg. Once you get that, repeat with your other limbs.

This version is a bit more advance, with more movement and more of a balancing component. Instead of reaching out with the other arm, you row a dumbbell, while keeping the leg extended.

Also, since you are doing this on a bench, be careful and exercise caution. The added dumbbell row makes it an anti rotation exercise, so err on the side of too light, as opposed to too heavy. I don’t want you face planting off the bench.

When you perfect it, go heavier and squeeze harder.

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