Developing Lateral Core Stability

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Core stability is developed in 4 ways:

  • Anti Rotation
  • Anti Lateral Flexion
  • Anti Extension
  • Anti Flexion

The goal of these categories is actually the resistance of movement instead of creating it.

This moves crunches, russian twists, ab machines, and situps into the category of obsolete. These exercises are about producing movements and are not as good as the above categories for athletes.

Anti Flexion is commonly found in a lot of strength exercises that wouldn’t necessarily be considered “core” work. DB rows, deadlifts, squats, and RDLs are just a couple of exercises that are upper/lower body strength focused but train anti flexion because they discourage rounding the back.

Anti Rotation exercises are used to resist rotating. These are important for creating rotational control. Many people are pretty good at producing rotation. Even less young athletes are good at controlling it. Teaching them control rotation will help them succeed when they need it.

Anti Extension is the category where most people struggle. Controlling extension is really important for creating stability and reducing back pain. It helps with running, changing direction, and lifting.

The category that has a special set of benefits but it one of the hardest to train is Anti Lateral Flexion.

Lateral flexion is side bending. There are not a lot uses for side bending but there are many benefits to resisting it. If athletes are able to control lateral flexion they will run faster, rotate better, and change direction more quickly.


Improving lateral core stability is important for hip mobility. We can increase our hip internal rotation by training anti lateral flexion. Its almost like magic how we can instantly have better hips by doing a few core exercises.

Resisting lateral flexion definitely requires some creativity. Some favorites are below.

Overhead Pallof Presses

The goal with the overhead Pallof is to stay upright. The band is going to try to pull you towards the anchor point.

Use a light band on this one because it is going to be limited by shoulder range of motion.

Single Arm Carries

The dumbbell forces you to walk upright. This resists bending to the side. It also helps a lot with grip strength.

This exercise couldn’t be any easier. Grab a weight with one hand and walk. to make it harder, grab a heavier weight or walk further.

Side Plank 

Side Plank with Row

Thread the Needle

The three exercises above are a progression of the side plank. Holding a side plank is one of the best ways to train the core. It is a well regarded exercise used to help alleviate back pain.

Use these 5 exercises to help create core stability in a pattern that often gets forgotten about.