Core stability training has been all the rage in the fitness field over the past decade, for good reason. Learning to move at the hips while keeping the spine stable is crucial for new lifters. While most lifters and trainers are well aware of simple core exercises that are properly suited for beginners, many aren’t well-versed in progressing these exercises to suit more advanced lifters. Too many lifters extend the duration of basic planking drills as their primary method of progressive overload, which builds strength endurance. But what about strength and power? A strong, powerful core is needed to stabilize the body during heavy lifting and explosive sporting actions.
Every few weeks, someone will tag me in a Facebook thread where people are arguing about the negative effects of sit-ups or crunches on posture. Typically, someone will claim that people are already sitting all day long and then question why would we dare put them into flexed postures during their training. They’ll also claim that performing sit-ups or crunches leads to negative postural adaptations such as kyphosis and forward head posture.
Trust me, I understand the sentiments. On weekends, when I don’t train myself or any clients, I tend to sit for much of the day trying to catch up on reading and writing. I can certainly feel the effects of such sitting on my body. Do this day in and day out, and I’m certain that it will have a negative impact on posture and function.
Pelvic strength and endurance is highly underrated in strength & conditioning. If you fail to stabilize the pelvis, it will rotate and take the spine along with it. You want to dictate what your pelvis does during exercise; not the other way around. I have two new exercises and one older exercise to share with you today.
The Hollow Body Position
The hollow body position has been used in gymnastics for decades and is an excellent core exercise. Unfortunately, most strength coaches have yet to embrace it. This is a shame as the exercise develops lumbopelvic stability and improves the body’s ability to resist excessive anterior pelvic tilt and lumbar hyperextension. For maximal pelvic stability, you want the glutes and abs to be strong and coordinated in order to hold down posterior tilt. The hollow rock focuses on abdominal strength.
My friend Brad Schoenfeld and I are currently conducting a study on the long lever pelvic tilt plank (LLPTP). This is the exercise-name we came up with for the study. I’d have called it the RKC plank, as this is how I learned it from my friend Joe Sansalone several years back. However, the RKC teaches their planks differently now (with a normal lever length and a “piking” action), so we had to come up with a generic name.
It sounds complicated, but it’s just a plank with a narrowed and extended lever, along with a posterior pelvic tilt.
In the video, I’m not using good form. My elbows aren’t truly lined up underneath my nose (do what I say, not as I do haha) – I cheated and made the exercise easier by lining my elbows up with my mouth.