2015 is here, and there are a lot of new faces in the gym. “Resolution-ers” are filing in, jumping on the treadmill and banging out countless reps of sit-ups in hopes that this is the year they reach their goals. If you have read my Core Training 101 post, you would already know that sit-ups are not the most effective way to strengthen your core. Nor will they help you get that six-pack you so desire.
Enter the best core exercise in, well, ever. The Kettlebell Pullover. This is an exercise that I introduce to every client. I believe that it sets the foundation for strength and efficient movement.
Why you should use it-
- Challenges The Core
- When done correctly this exercise is taxing. It looks easy at a glance, but when you maintain a posterior pelvic tilt and a rib pull, you will feel this like, “whoa!” This is the type of exercise that the better you get, the harder it becomes. If it is not difficult, you are not doing it correctly.
- Teaches Proper Breath Patterning for Abdominal Support
- Proper breathing is very important for your lower back and core. And breathing properly helps maintain tightness and makes you stronger by increasing intra-abdominal pressure. It is like wearing a weight belt without having to wear one.
- This will ensure that you wont end up like those poor saps who wear a weight belt while walking around the gym or for arm curls. Save those the weight belts for when you really need them to keep you from looking like a fool.
- Reinforces Technique at the Top of Squat and Deadlift
- During the set up for the squat or deadlift, it is a common habit for people to hang out in an anterior pelvic tilt. This puts increased stress on the lower back. This exercise will help you build tension and find a better neutral position. This will carry over to the top of your lifts and take excessive force off your spine.
- Trains the deep core musculature – multifidus, transverse abdominus and obliques.
- These muscles are very important for back health. Studies have shown that those with recurring back pain have weak multifidi. So this exercise can save your back!
- Start Position
- Start lying on your back, with hips and knees bent at 90 degrees.
- Grab kettlebell, medicine ball or dumbbell with arms extended over the chest
- In this position, you will have a slight arch in your lower back.
- The Movement
- Flatten your lower back and sternum into the ground. (Place an increased emphasis on your sternum and ribs)
- Once flat, take a deep breath into your belly.
- Reach your arms back as far as you can without any part of your lower back coming off the floor.
- Once you reach the point in which your back wants to lift up, pull your ribs and spine harder into the ground and bring arms back to starting position.
- Make this exercise harder by
- Lying on a foam roller
- Putting your feet on the floor
- Extend one leg outwards
- Make this exercise harder by
If you can master this exercise, you will get the most out all your other core exercises. You will move better and have improved muscle activation and technique, not to mention a stronger, injury free back.