Core development is essential to any sport. It takes a strong core to provide a solid support system for explosive, powerful movements. After five years of testing MMA fighters at the professional level, it’s clear that the fighter who can punch and kick with the most power are rarely the guys who can bench press or squat the most. The knockout artists are the ones who perform best with exercises such as the ab wheel rollout and pallof press.
A punch in the gut:-
Let’s switch gears for a minute. Imagine you are standing in the line at the movies and your cantankerous brother pulls his arm back and throws a punch toward your gut. What happens as you see the punch coming towards your midsection? The nervous system includes a reflex response to pulling your ribcage down and in. This allows your abdominal to quickly include a high level of tension.
Yep, your nervous system is forcing you to lose lordosis in order to develop maximum tension in your abdominals to protect your organs from the vicious blow. This is a necessary protective mechanism, and you should never argue with your nervous system. Now imagine how many times a fighter must deal with a punch or kick that’s rushing towards his midsection. So when it comes to developing a fighter’s core strength, some level of spinal flexion is necessary. You can not develop maximum tension in your core without a little flexion.
Even though the regular plank and side plank are excellent exercises for beginners, a fighter or any power athlete needs more challenging core exercises to develop a bulletproof core. Therefore, even though the good doc has shown us that spinal flexion can be detrimental, fighters must flex their spinal to some degree at times when training the core. But how much spinal flexion is acceptable?
The Problem With a Weak Core:-
When the deep core muscles that support the spine are weak, your nervous system puts the brakes on your explosive potential as a protective mechanism. Not only that but insufficient core stability strength will set you up for injury and limit your mobility. I once thought that deadlifts, squats, pull-ups, and standing military presses were sufficient to strengthen the core to the level it needed to be for any sport. But my position on core training has changed.
The Right Kind Of Curve In The Spine:-
The first issue that needs to be addressed is spinal flexion. Research by Dr. McGill shows that repeated spinal flexion is detrimental to the intervertebral discs. the strategy of rolling out of bed and then bending over to touch the toes with a rounded spine to stretch your back is enough to make McGill have a coronary.
For McGill, the ability to maintain lumbar lordosis while lifting and moving reigns king. When your trainer tells you to keep an arch in your low back while pulling a deadlift, he’s telling you to maintain lordosis. McGill has tested many NFL players who have blown-out discs, and as long as they maintain lordosis on the field, they can continue to play. That’s how important lordosis is.
Try this simple exercises. First, sit up tall in your chair with your chest as high as possible. Feel the bottom of your ribcage push forward as you lift your chest. Now, place your fingertips on your lower ribs. From here, pull your ribcage down and in until it stops. Make a note of how little your spine flexed when you did that. This is the limit of spinal flexion you should ever train. Any further flexion is detrimental to your spine and discs. So the good news is that it only takes minimal spinal flexion to develop maximum abdominal tension.
Dying Bug With Wall Push:-
The “Dying Bug With Wall Push” is an excellent way to develop maximum abdominal tension without imposing an unnecessary risk to the discs. Maybe you have seen a regular dead-bug exercise, but the addition of the wall push activates the lets, which are essential for core strength.
Leg Curl With Single-Leg Balance:- This exercise builds stability strength in the core and hips while activating the hamstrings. The core just not a collection of muscle around your belly. It is much more than that. Think traps to the hips-an area which contains numerous muscle that impacts your posture, not just your six pack.