Here are six additional core stiffening exercises that I consider valuable to any training regimen (continued from Part One):
The wheelbarrow is a specialty piece of equipment from Escape Fitness; the design makes it very unstable if you walk too quickly. Keep your shoulders back and your elbows locked. Maintain perfect posture as you walk. Think about walking, not running. Maintain proximal stiffness. If you move too quickly, you’ll lose all stability.
Protocol – 2 x 100-meter walks.
Key Phrase – “Be patient, slow and steady.”
Key Muscles – All muscles will be activated.
High-Speed Treadmill – Running Plank
I’m often asked what I consider to be my favorite piece of equipment in the facility – and this is like being asked which child is your favorite! That said, if I had to pick just one piece, it would be the Tuff Tread High-Speed Treadmill. These specialty treadmills have a 6-foot tread, can incline to 40 degrees, and hit a top speed of 32 mph. The design allows a lot of great and unique exercises, but my favorite is what I call the Running Plank. With the treadmill at an incline of 22 degrees, you run while holding the front rail of the treadmill. Your arms are at 90 degrees, and you work on getting your knees up and cycling your legs back and up. Think about staying TALL, as you are doing the equivalent of a running plank.
Protocol – 30 seconds – incline at 22 degrees.
Key Phrase – “Knees UP!”
Key Muscles – Rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis.
This exercise is a classic posterior chain builder with the added movement of a 10-yard walk. Romanian Deadlifts (RDL) are done by holding two kettlebells at waist height. The movement starts by pushing your hips back. With a slight bend in the knees, lower the weight until you feel the hamstrings stretching. Start by doing 5 reps, then proceed to walk 10 yards. The walk should be slow and methodical. At the 10-yard mark, do another 5 reps. Repeat this 4 times for a total of 40 yards. Think about squeezing at the top of each rep.
Protocol – 4 x 10 yards, 5 reps, then walk back.
Key Phrase – “You’re carrying 2 suitcases!”
Key Muscles – Erectors.
The asymmetrical carry is a great stabilizing exercise that takes maximum focus. Always start the movement from a static position with a kettlebell to your side in your right hand and your left arm extended fully up and out to your side. Hold this position motionlessly for about 5 seconds, then start to walk forward. Nothing should move but your legs. Control your breathing by sipping the air in and out. Keep the arm that’s holding the kettlebell slightly bent at the elbow. Walk 20 yards and repeat by changing the weight to the left hand. Think about reaching with the extended arm.
Protocol – 20 yards down, then back (x 4).
Key Phrase – “Perfect Posture.”
Key Muscles – Complete musculature of the back.
I enjoy using this specialty piece because of its incredible versatility. The facility has weights ranging from 6 KG – 30 KG, which allows for a variety of exercises. This movement is called “threading the needle;” grab the ViPR with both hands and go into the squat. Keep the arms extended and drive the ViPR in between the legs with your elbows locked. Next, stand up tall and rotate the ViPR in the opposite direction while keeping the arms extended and repeat the motion on the opposite side of the body. Always remember to snap to attention. Think about snapping the feet in and reaching for the sky.
Protocol – 4 sets of 10 reps.
Key Phrase – “Own the movement.”
Key Muscles – Rectus abdominis, transverse abdominus, and obliques.
Deadlift w/Kettlebell Holds
This exercise merges two of my favorite exercises, coupling them together to maximize core stiffening. Start by warming up for 2 sets of 8 on the deadlift. Working sets should be in the 50, 60, 65, 70, and 75 percent range of max. Do a set of 8 on the deadlift, then move directly to a 1-minute kettlebell hold. I focus on standing as straight as possible when in the upright position. Increase the weight of the kettlebells during each set if you can. Think about applying force to the bar and standing at attention.
Protocol – 5 sets of 8 on the deadlift super set, with 1-minute holds.
Key Phrase – “Neural activation through the hands.”
Key Muscles – What doesn’t the deadlift work?