By Bob Andersen • Edited by Amanda Altman
Why do you train the way you train? For most of us, it’s because of the way we were taught, both through formal instruction and our experiences on the job. As a trainer for nearly 25 years and a Pilates instructor for 18, my focus has been primarily with athletes, from professional and Olympic competitors to middle school kids who just want to have fun. Naturally, this has had a profound impact on how I teach.
One thing professional instructors understand is that athletes perform dynamic movements, and that their training should reflect that. It might seem obvious, but too often I see athletes doing crunch after crunch after crunch. This type of training doesn’t focus on the entire core—nor is it dynamic. What’s more effective is core training that incorporates a variety of movements in all three planes while focusing on stability and control, which is known as three-dimensional (3D) core training. It transfers well to the field or court, and will most certainly help improve performance.
Although these exercises are designed with the athletic client in mind, they’re great for anyone. I work with my fair share of clients who are simply training for the game of life. Depending on the needs and ability of the student at hand, modifications can be made by simply changing the tempo, the range of motion or resistance. The goal is to safely challenge the client and have them feel successful.
If you’re an instructor, I’d encourage you to try these exercises for yourself. Then use your professional creativity to discover how you can incorporate one, two or all of them into your client’s training.
SNEAK PEAK OF THE EXERCISES
Seated Twist with Stability Cushion and Med Ball
THE WHY Improving control of the hips as the upper body rotates helps with transfer of power and increasing understanding of upper- and lower-body dissociation.
START Sit on the front half of the cushion with your knees bent hip-width apart and feet flat on the floor. Roll back until your shoulders are behind your hips. Hold the ball in front of your navel.
MOVE Rotate your shoulders to one side, reaching the ball toward the floor; return to center. Repeat on your other side. Do 5–15 reps on each side.
TIPS The movement should come from the rotation of your torso; you’re not just reaching with your arms. Keep your feet grounded throughout.
MODIFICATION Place a ball or bolster between your knees to increase the connection to your lower extremities.
ADVANCED Roll back further, or increase the tempo.