One of the most effective ways to train the core muscles is to challenge them with some kind of instability.
When we are training for stability we want as many muscles to fire as possible, together. When there is no stable platform, as many muscles will work in unison to find it. This co-contraction will allow the most amount of force to be produced.
The purpose of core stability is to provide a brace for the low back. If you think it is to get shredded abzz, then you might be in the wrong place.
The low back is designed for stability and doesn’t allow a lot of motion. This is the main reason that we want a co-contraction of the muscles on the front, side, and back of the torso. It almost creates a belt of muscles that provide support for the low back.
When these muscles are properly trained it can help improve hip mobility, upper back mobility, and reduce back pain.
I like to use the slideboard for core training because it is a good blend of stable and unstable. On one end it is not as unstable as a physioball, but it does provide enough of a challenge to train stability.
Now, I know everyone does not have a slideboard to use. The good thing is that they can be done on any sliding surface. Wood, tile, or even with paper plates on a rug will work. The only requirement is that the arms or feet can slide.
There are two exercises that are really effective for core training.
- Slideboard Bodysaw
To set up the bodysaw, get into a plank position with the arms off of the board. The feet should be on and able to slide. Push the heels straight behind you and then pull yourself back to the starting position. Maintain a good plank the whole time.
- Slideboard Flutter
This is a great exercise that I like to take credit for inventing even though I am sure thousands of people are already using it. Nothing is really new in this industry anyway.
This time our plank position starts with our arms on the board and feet on the ground. Without losing the good plank position, alternate the arms back and forth.
These two exercises are not only very effective, they can be progressed. The bodysaw can be done with one leg, with a tempo, with a band around the wrists to promote shoulder stability, with a bungee to force more stability, or with a cone on the back to ensure a good plank is held. Pretty much all of the same goes for the flutter except the band around the wrists.
The versatility of this piece of equipment and the benefits of the exercises on the slideboard are the reason that I wrote Slideboard Training for Hockey. The exercises that I included are not exclusive to hockey players but I chose to make the transfer of them applicable to hockey. This e-book is free so you have nothing to lose by checking it out!