When you think about core training, what comes to mind? Are crunches first on your “go to” list? Sure, crunches can be effective for training muscular endurance, but are spinal flexion exercises the best way to help you achieve your fitness goals? We know that spinal flexion is not a movement that we use often in daily living, and it is not possible to “spot reduce,” so perhaps we should consider other options!
If you are interested in improving function in activities of daily living, rotational core training will help you do just that. Training rotation offers carryover benefits to many activities and allows for greater ease of movement. In addition, if training for power is a priority, rotational exercises help the transfer of energy from the lower to upper body, and enhance performance in many sports.
The Surge® and Kamagon® Ball are excellent tools to train rotational core movements because they provide a dynamic training environment which offers an additional challenge. They are water filled products that use Hydro-Inertia® technology, requiring the engagement of the core muscles to stabilize the spine as the water shifts. There are unlimited options with these tools, but here are two of my favorites!
Kamagon® Ball Rear Lunge and Chop
Begin with the feet hip width apart, holding the handles of the Kamagon® Ball at chest level. Step back with the left leg into a rear lunge, bending each knee about 90 degrees. Simultaneously rotate the upper body to face right and bring the Kamagon® Ball to the right hip. Step forward and return to start position. Repeat for 8 to 12 repetitions, alternating sides each time.
Progression: Increase range of motion by extending the arms and swinging Kamagon® Ball further away from the body on the lunge and lifting the ball overhead when standing.
Surge® Alternating Front Lunge with Rotation
Start with the feet hip-width apart, holding the Surge® in front of the chest. Step forward with the right leg into a lunge, bending each knee about 90 degrees. Rotate the upper body to face right. Lift the Surge® overhead and rotate the torso back to center. Step back and return to start position. Repeat for 8 to 12 repetitions, alternating sides each time.
Progression: Lunge and rotate simultaneously and extend the elbows to bring the Surge® further away from the body.
Melissa Weigelt, MS is a Hedstrom Fitness Master Trainer and owner at Flow Fitness Training, where she develops and presents a variety of continuing education programs for fitness instructors.