Are your core body exercises causing you pain? Does working out take your body even more out of alignment?
If you seem to be creating more pain with each ab workout, then you likely need to take a step back and focus on corrective exercise.
Many people are shying away from core exercises that take place on the ground.
Many feel ground based exercises aren't athletic or are just too easy. If you're someone that is constantly injured no matter what you do, then working out on ground may be a great place for you to start.
Getting down on the floor and performing core body exercises placed prone (face downward) or placed supine (face up) is a great way to give yourself some external stability from the ground up.
If you're real banged up, start by mastering the sagittal plane first.
A brief explanation of the 3 planes of movement...
Sagittal plane is front-to-back motions. Ex: Squats, deadlifts.
Frontal plane is side-to-side motions. Ex: Side lunges.
Transverse plane is rotation motions. Ex: Med ball twists.
Movements that occur in the sagittal plane are the most basic. Transverse plane movements are much more advanced.
If you can't safely execute bodyweight squats (sagittal plane), then how do you expect to perform medicine ball twists (transverse plain) pain free?
If you can't move well in the sagittal plane, then you certainly won't move well in the transverse plane!
Master the easiest exercises first before moving on to the more advanced variations.
Supine exercises are great for building your inner core. The following two exercises will get your abs working properly by getting your body to fire the right muscles at the right times.
Remember to focus on...
1. Exhaling hard while pulling the rib cage down.
2. Rolling the pelvis back.
3. Flattening your low back into the ground.
4. Reaching far when activating the upper extremity.
This exercise works the inner core along with the serratus anterior (vertical arm) and lower traps (lower arm).
This exercise can really hammer your abs and lower traps. When done correctly, this exercise will leave you feeling very sore the next day!
Start placed prone on the floor with hips and knees bent to 90 degrees and feet in the air.
Raise both arms up to the sky. You should feel a slight stretch between your shoulder blades.
As you reach with the moving arm, take a deep breath and pull air into the same side chest wall.
Keeping reaching up with the left arm while at the same time be bringing the right hand toward the left knee, turning the left hand down toward the floor.
Reverse the motion and repeat to work in the other direction.
This exercise is important because it works lat inhibition together with the abs and the deep core muscles.
The lats connect to the scapula, pelvis, and thoracic spine, and if they're too stiff and not functioning properly, this can throw off your posture causing problems with correct movement.
Start placed on your back with hips and knees bent to 90 degrees.
Take a kettlebell or dumbbell up overhead. Exhale fully and flatten the lower back into the ground.
From here, lower the kettlebell slowly while keeping the lower back pressed down. Go as far as you can without allowing any back extension.
Shoot for 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps. 301 or 501 tempo to really help control the eccentric (lowering). Or use a 151 tempo to help control extension through the core.