This post is for combat sport athletes but holds true for all contact sports – especially those involving tackling. When training the midline most of our work should be ‘anti-movement patterns’. Anti-movements are exercises that prevent movement at the spine and hips. The role of the ‘core’ is to resist movements and to keep the spine safe and healthy while the limbs are moving. Traditionally, people have thought of training the midline as doing a thousand sit-ups and bicycle kicks because of the burn. But the midline is much more than just a 6 pack. The midline is basically the entire kinetic chain – from your feet up to your shoulders. Having a strong midline gives you the ability to stabilise the spine during other movements (striking and grappling), to transfer energy from the lower body to upper body (efficient power production) and helps reduce the risk of injury. If you’ve ever wrestled against someone with a strong midline you can feel that they ‘leak’ very little energy – they feel stable and immoveable. This is the midline working. To train the midline we want to; #1 Focus on the key lifts; heavy squa bts, trap bar deadlifts, and loaded bodyweight movements (i.e. weighted push-ups, weighted chin-ups etc). This is where we get most of our anti-movement strength from. In the video below @el_swifte is performing Zercher squats. A great exercise for developing the midline (especially for fighters – think wrestling, battling for under hooks and getting the takedown). His midline works to keep the spine safe while the limbs are moving and allows him to transfer energy from the floor up through his body.
#2 Include carries multiple times a week; all carries (farmers, suitcase, bear…) are basically like a walking plank. Your midline works to stabilise the hips and spine while moving under load. Aim for at least 2x per week. #3 Focus on the basics; planks, side planks, paloff presses, ab rollouts, bird dogs etc. all of these exercise are preventing movement at the spine and hips. Throw out the crunches and incorporate more of these exercises. For help with your midline development, message us today. #one22