Core Training – Part 4 (hip flexion with a neutral spine)

IT’S THE FINAL PART ALL ABOUT TRAINING YOUR CORE!

Chances are, that you can hardly contain yourself with the anticipation on todays final piece on how to train your core effectively!?

So far we have covered:

Now we conclude with what’s known as HIP FLEXION WITH A NEUTRAL SPINE. Just the sound of the movement gets me all excited…………a little bit.


 


The simplest way to think of HIP FLEXION WITH NEUTRAL SPINE, is to keep your back flat, whilst moving your legs, usually in a flexed, or extended position.

One of my go to movements for this particular movement pattern, is what’s known as a ‘BAND ASSISTED DEAD BUG‘. Ok, it does sound a little ridiculous (as do many of the exercises in the fitness world), but this exercise is great for a number of reasons:

  • It teaches you how to brace correctly in your anterior core to avoid lumbar extension
  • It helps to programme a motor pattern where the core is braced, and the hip is in flexion
  • Is a safer exercise to use with people that have poor core strength, or lack good motor control
  • Creates resistance from both the moving limbs, as well as the anchored resistance-band
  • Is super easy to progress, simply by adding more tension to the resistance band

This may not seem like much, but pound for pound, the BAND ASSISTED DEAD BUG should be part of everyone’s core training programme.

Once you get more compliant with this movement, progress it by adding more tension to the band, just be careful not to over do it with lots of reps. Focus on the quality of the exercise, rather than the quantity.

When you have mastered this version of the DEAD BUG, try setting yourself up, side on to the resistance, which will completely change the stimulus of the exercise. Not only will this work on the HIP FLEXION WITH A NEUTRAL SPINE element. It will also throw in some ANTI ROTATION resistance into the movement as well.

(warning, this is for the more intermediate athlete’s out there)

Takeaway points from today’s video:

  • Get the back flat, core/ribs down and tight before you add any resistance
  • Externally rotate the shoulders, and keep them back & down all through the exercise
  • Extend one leg at a time, hold for a count of 2-3 seconds, and squeeze your glutes & quads
  • If at any point you feel your back start to round, reset in the starting position, then continue
  • Progress the exercise by adding more tension to the band, once the movement becomes easier

Hopefully you should have a better understanding as to why we want to be training in this particular manner. If not, here is my take on things.

So let’s start with training in the gym, or to rephrase it ‘WEIGHT/RESISTANCE TRAINING‘. If you, like me, enjoy going to the gym, and getting your sweat on by lifting relatively heavy stuff, then there is one common denominator that we are taught when lifting heavy objects. And that is ‘BACK FLAT CORE TIGHT‘ (to put it simply)

Think of all the movements that you might do when training:

  • DEAD LIFT 
  • SQUAT
  • BENCH PRESS
  • CHIN-UP
  • SHOULDER PRESS
  • SEATED LEG PRESS
  • BICEPS CURLS
  • TRICEPS PRESS etc etc

Provided you are doing things correctly (and trust me, most people aren’t), there should always be this correlation between keeping a neutral spine position, whilst performing your movement patterns.

An exception to the rule, is the bench press (especially if you’re a power lifter), where you do need a slight arch in your back to help stabilise the shoulders through the movement.

All of the above requires adequate core strength, or motor control if you are going to perform them effectively, consistently, but most importantly, safely.

Olympic lifting, and most sports are of course different, but the principles are still the same. The correct set up, strength, and motor control all need to be dialled in if you want to perform better in your given sport of choice.

Once you have the foundations in place, you can look to progress onto more challenging movements that require a higher level of skill. For now, the four movements that we have covered should be your blueprint when it comes to training your core.

Here is how I would personally programme using the four variables:

  • Work on a two day split with at least 48hrs rest between programmes
  • Day 1 – ANTI-LATERAL FLEXION & ANTI-ROTATION exercises
  • Day 2 – ANTI-EXTENSION & HIP FLEXION WITH A NEUTRAL SPINE exercises

Depending on what you are already training, you can either programme these into your existing routine, or you can focus on two full days of core training.

Writing effective core training programmes can be tricky, and knowing where to start is a mine-field. That’s why I have taken out all of the hard work for you, and designed the 4 WEEK CORE PROGRAMME.

The programme is set out over a 4 week period, with two different days of training, along with the following guides:

  • TDEE calculator (total daily energy expenditure)
  • NUTRITION GUIDE
  • CLEAN EATING RECIPES
  • 4 WEEK MEAL PLAN
  • + BONUS MOBILITY DRILLS

If you would like to find out more about the programme, and to have me guide you all the way through 4 weeks of effective training, then please click on the link below!

THE 4 WEEK CORE PROGRAMME!!

Thank you for taking the time watch the videos, I really hope they have given you the tools to start making your training sessions more productive.

Keep training hard, keep moving well, and let’s stay fit & healthy for a very long time to come!!

JD

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