Posted June 28, 2018

5 Movements for Maximum Strength and Resiliency

Today’s guest post comes from Meghan Callaway on the heels of her brand new product with Kellie Davis and Dr. Sarah Duvall, Glutes Core and Pelvic Floor. It’s on sale now for only $197, a $200 savings for a 12 week workout and educational program, on sale until June 29th at midnight. After that the sale price goes up.

*****

When it comes to looking, feeling, and performing your very best, having strong core muscles is extremely beneficial. While many people liken this ever-important muscle group to the six pack muscles, I like to define the core as all of the muscles in the torso that surround the spine. This is why you will often hear me refer to a “360-degree brace.” Basically, all of the muscles in your body aside from your limbs make up the core.

To be very clear, while you absolutely use your core muscles during heavier compound movements like squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, bench presses, and rows, and even during bodyweight movements like pull-ups, push-ups, and skater squats, just to name a few, including some accessory core work in your training program is usually a very good idea, and will help keep your body feeling good, and performing at a high level.

Here are 5 exercises that will help provide you with a pillar of strength.

 

#1. Band Resisted Dead Bugs

This exercise strengthens trains the muscles to resist the extension of the spine, and develops lumbo-pelvic stability.

Coaching Cues:

  • Fasten a resistance band around a secure pole/bar. Choose a tension that allows you to use your best form at all times.
  • Lie on the floor. Position your legs so they are in a vertical position, straighten your knees, and point your feet towards you (dorsiflex).
  • Place the band around your wrists (I like to keep my hands in a prayer position), and extend your arms so your hands are just past your chest. As you do this, you should feel your ribs tuck down towards your hips, and your anterior core muscles activate.
  • Lift your head and shoulders so they are a few inches above the ground, tuck your chin and keep your neck in a neutral position, tuck your ribs towards your hips (close the space in your midsection), and brace your core muscles. If you prefer, keep your head on the floor, or rest your head on a yoga block.
  • Before you go, take a deep breath in (360 degrees of air around the spine). Now forcefully exhale, contract your core muscles as hard as you can, and slowly drop your leg toward the floor, and to a range where you can maintain proper form. Return to the starting position. Reset the breathing, bracing, and rib tuck, and repeat with the opposite leg.
  • For the duration of the exercise, do not allow your ribs to flare or your lower back to hyperextend.
  • One key I like to look for is that if your shirt is wrinkled, it likely means your ribs are in the right position, and that you are bracing properly. If your shirt suddenly becomes smooth, you have likely lost the correct rib position and bracing, and have flared your ribcage.

 

 

You can modify this exercise by using a band with less tension, or by keeping your knees bent at 90 degrees versus having them completely extended.

 

#2. Half Kneeling Pallof Presses (band or cable)

This exercise trains your muscles to resist the rotation of the spine and hips, and develops lumbo-pelvic stability.

Coaching Cues:

  • Get into a half kneeling stance.
  • Your leg that is closest to the band/cable attachment should be in the forward position.
  • Before each rep, take a deep breath in (360 degrees of air around the spine), brace your core muscles (360 degree brace), tuck your ribs towards your hips (close the space in your midsection), and squeeze your glutes. This will help stabilize your pelvis and spine.
  • Now steadily exhale while extending your arms to your full range. Hold for 2 seconds and return your arms to the starting position.
  • Stop when your elbows touch your sides. Do not allow your hands or forearms to touch your body.
  • Keep your arms/grip soft so you feel your anterior core and obliques, not your arms.

 

You can modify this exercise by using less weight/tension, or by shortening the range that you extend your arms.

 

#3. Tall Kneeling Single Arm Landmine Presses

This exercise strengthens the muscles of the upper body and anterior core, trains the muscles to resist the extension and rotation of the spine, and develops lumbo-pelvic stability.

Coaching Cues:

  • Position a barbell so it is lengthwise. Rest it against a wall, weight plate, another stable object, or in a landmine attachment.
  • Line the barbell up with your armpit, and grab onto the top of the barbell with one arm.
  • Get into a tall kneeling stance. Place your knees so they are your preferred width apart (usually hip to shoulder), and have a very slight forward lean in your torso.
  • Before each rep, take a deep breath in (360 degrees of air around the spine), brace your core muscles (360 degree brace), tuck your ribs towards your hips (close the space in your midsection), and squeeze your glutes. This will help stabilize your pelvis and spine.
  • Now press the bar forward to your full range, and “row” the bar back in to your body.
  • As you bring the barbell back in towards your body, stop when your elbow and upper arm touch your body. Do not allow your elbow or upper arm to pass your side.
  • For the duration of the exercise, your head, torso and hips should remain in a stacked position. Do not allow your lower back to hyperextend, ribs to flare, or your torso or hips to rotate, or tip laterally.
  • As for your breathing, exhale after you have initiated the press and the barbell is traveling away from your body. Inhale as the bar is returning towards your body, or pause in the starting position, and inhale/reset there before the next rep.

 

 

You can modify this exercise by using less weight.

 

#4. Single Leg Isometric Hip Lift Plus Leg Lowering

 

This exercise strengthens the muscles of the glutes and the anterior core, trains the muscles to resist the extension and rotation of the spine, and develops lumbo-pelvic stability.

Coaching Tips:

  • Set yourself up as you would when you are performing regular glute bridges. Tuck your chin, and keep your neck in a neutral position. If it is more comfortable, rest your head on a yoga block.
  • Place your shin so it is in a relatively vertical position or else your hamstring will take over.
  • Now extend your hips by pressing through the mid to back portion of your foot and squeezing your glutes, NOT by arching your lower back. This is extremely important.
  • In the top position, your body should form a straight line from your knee to your shoulders. For the duration of the exercise, keep your body in this position.
  • Extend your other leg so it is in a vertical position. Straighten your knee, and point your toes towards you (dorsiflex). If you lack the mobility in your posterior chain (likely hamstrings), you may keep your knee in more of a bent position, but whatever joint angle you adopt, maintain this angle for the duration of the exercise.
  • Before each rep, take a deep breath in (360 degrees of air around the spine), brace your core muscles (360 degree brace), tuck your ribs towards your hips (close the space in your midsection), and squeeze your glutes. This will help stabilize your pelvis and spine.
  • Now contract the muscles of your anterior core as hard as you can and slowly lower your leg to a range that allows you to maintain proper form, slowly exhaling the entire time. Once you hit your end range, return your leg back to the starting position, slowly inhaling as you are doing so.
  • Keep the muscles in your lowering leg relatively relaxed so they don’t dominate the movement.
  • Aside from the moving leg, your body should remain in a fixed position. Do not allow your lower back to hyperextend or ribs to flare, and do not allow your ribs, hips, or spine to rotate.
  • Make sure to engage the glutes and anterior core musculature on both sides of your body as this will help keep your hips level.

 

 

You can modify this exercise by keeping your knee bent at 90 degrees versus having it completely extended, or by shortening the range of the leg lowering.

 

#5. Dumbbell Loaded Carries

 

This exercise develops lumbo-pelvic stability and trains the body to resist the extension, lateral flexion, and rotation of the spine. This exercise also develops shoulder and scapular stability (your shoulders and scapulae are in a relatively fixed position), and grip strength.

Coaching Notes:

  • Get a pair of dumbbells. Choose a weight that allows you to use your best form at all times.
  • You can pick the weights up from a box or bench. If you are starting from the floor, be sure to pick up the weights properly.
  • Before you go, take a deep breath in (360 degrees of air around the spine), brace your core muscles (360 degree brace), tuck your ribs towards your hips (close the space in your midsection), and squeeze your glutes. This will help stabilize your pelvis and spine.
  • Keep your arms rigid and drive them into your sides. Pretend that you are trying to crush something in your armpits. This will help stabilize your upper body and will keep your arms from swinging.
  • While maintaining this full body position, walk 25-50 meters. If you are required to turn around, this will be the most challenging component of the exercise.
  • For the duration of the exercise, your head, torso, and hips should remain in a stacked position, and your hips should remain level. Do not allow your lower back to hyperextend or rib to flare, and do not allow your body to lean to one side or rotate. This is extremely common.
  • For the duration of the exercise, press evenly through all of your toes on the foot that is striding, but especially the big and baby toes.
  • For the duration of the exercise, maintain regular breathing (360 degree breaths in, steady exhaling)


 

You can modify this exercise by using less weight.

About Meghan

 

Meghan Callaway is a strength coach in Vancouver, Canada with over 15 years of experience coaching a wide array of clients from elite athletes, to post-physical therapy rehabilitative strength training, as well as everyday people who want to feel, perform, and function at a higher level.

Meghan is the creator of the Ultimate Pull-Up Program, and believes that working out should be fun, mentally and physically rewarding, and empowering. Her pull-up program is currently being followed by over 1000 women and men worldwide.

When Meghan was 28, she was in a bad car accident, and this led to over 5 years of severe discomfort, full body issues, and a significant amount of mental, physical, and financial stress. She never thought she’d be able to work out again, or even move properly, and she spent these 5 years going from doctor to doctor until she finally found somebody who could tell her what was causing all of her symptoms and injuries. Despite many low points and moments of doubt, Meghan persevered until she found a solution, and learned a tremendous amount about herself, and lessons, in the process. This was Meghan’s turning point, and truly made her appreciate her health and simply the ability to feel good more than ever.

Meghan has an extensive athletic background and has played competitive soccer for 27 years, and also grew up playing ice hockey and baseball on boys teams.

Connect with Meghan on her website,Facebook,Instagram, and YouTube.

*****

Pick up your copy of Glutes Core and Pelvic Floor. today to save $200 until June 29th. The price goes up by $100 on June 30th and July 1st, and then another $100 after that, so act quick to get a sick discount on an awesome workout and educational product.