In part 1 of the ab solution we looked at a few anti extension exercises that can help give you the strength and control you need in one of the directions your abs work in. In this section we will look at the rest. (Part 1 has now been updated to include video demos of the exercises, go check it out, again!)
The ability to resist rotation through your torso is as important when it comes to protecting the spine as being able to resist bending movements. Keeping your hips and ribs pointing the same direction and having your torso move as a single unit also helps with power transfer and stability. Rotational power (think golf/ tennis/ throwing etc) is also improved by the increased strength of your obliques from being able to resist movement.
Anti rotation exercises
Pallof press – keep your knees slightly bent, quads and glutes tight and your shoulders back and down. You should be able to keep your elbows in close throughout, not have them flare out wide.
Antirotation hold – Simply holding the end point of the Pallof press, resisting the pull of the cable or band, and keeping your hips and ribs facing forward.
Band alphabet – Building further on the hold, the alphabet increases difficulty by having you move your arms in a controlled way (writing your name, spelling the alphabet etc) whilst maintaining rib and hip position. Much more challenging than it looks…
Anti lateral flexion (side bend)
One sided loaded carry – Loading up one side of your body and either holding position or walking for distance or time is great for building strength through your obliques, as well as hip stability and grip strength. Go heavy but try to keep your torso vertical throughout.
Waiter walk – Similar to the carry above with one teeny little tweak…the weight is above your head. Not for those with dodgy shoulders but great in helping to develop some shoulder stability in those who can get into position with no pain. Prepare for your abs to be well and truly tested!
While these are my favourite ab exercises and I find most clients benefit from keeping it simple, there are a huge number of variations on these, go experiment!