The Art of Expressing Strength
Many lifters like to shoot for at least a 2.5 times bodyweight squat, a 3 times bodyweight deadlift, and a 2 times bodyweight bench press. But to reach most strength goals, you have to express your strength in a way that requires the transfer of force from lower body to upper body in a less controlled environment.
This type of force transfer requires great strength through your core to prevent injury and, in the end, allow you to demonstrate the strength you possess. But when it comes to the core, we don't talk about what marker we can achieve that shows absolute savagery of core strength.
The ability to prevent lumbar extension is critical to performing at a high level and to efficiently transfer high levels of force from the lower body to the upper body and vice versa.
This is an exercise that many can't complete, including many that can squat, deadlift and bench numbers that are above 90% of the population. It's also an exercise that will absolutely shred your midsection, even with only a few sets and a small number of reps. Along with the core, the chest, shoulders, and triceps will be targeted, exposed, and forced to grow bigger and stronger.
The key is progression. Be sure to master each exercise below before going on to the next. Skipping steps can cause technique to break down.
The standard kneeling ab wheel rollout is the first exercise you must master. It teaches you how to resist extension as the lever of your body gets longer as the hands go out overhead. The main focus is to make sure your hips don't tip anteriorly and the lower back isn't hyperextending, especially during the transition point when your hands are the furthest overhead.
When you can comfortably complete 3 sets of 15-20 rollouts without any pain or "working" sensation of your lower back, move to the next step.
This exercise challenges you further as the lever has now lengthened. This will expose you to a position that's similar to the standing rollout, but because you're elevated on the stability ball, the force of gravity trying to pull you into anterior tilt and lumbar extension is still less.
Being able to complete 3 sets of 15-20 reps without any discomfort in the lower back shows that you've mastered the exercise.
In this one, your body is now parallel to the floor, increasing gravitational pull. Try to slide yourself as far back as possible without your hips anteriorly tilting and your lower back falling into hyperextension. The most challenging position will be the transition point when the arms the furthest overhead and you begin to pull yourself back to the beginning position.
You're ready for the next step when you can complete 3 sets of 12-15 reps without any pain or working sensation in the lower back.
This exercise will place you in position most similar to the standing rollout. Not only will the plank walkout challenge you to prevent extension of the lower back and anterior tilt of the hips, but it'll also challenge you to prevent rotation around the hips. This helps to further solidify the core strength necessary to safely and efficiently complete the standing rollout.
Walk your hands out overhead to the furthest point possible without allowing the hip to anteriorly tilt or the lower back to hyperextend. Transition back to the push-up position, also focusing on preventing the hips from rotating or swiveling.
When you can complete 3 sets of 8-10 reps you have mastered the movement.
The standing rollout is the king of core exercises and will place the greatest challenge on your core to prevent anterior tilt of the hips and hyperextension of the lower back.
When you can complete 3 sets of 5-6 without any discomfort or working sensation of the lower back, you can officially call yourself a savage with your core strength. You'll also enhance the performance of all of your other lifts as you now have a force transfer point that's bulletproof.