Strong "deep core" muscles support the spine and therefore the entire body during explosive movements. If those muscles are weak, the nervous system serves as a protective mechanism due to inadequate core strength. One exercise prescribed to target these muscles is the "stir the pot."
The standard variation is done in the plank position with your elbows resting on a stability ball. You make circles to activate the lats while the core has to stabilize your position. The muscles within your core are essentially firing like crazy.
Unfortunately, most people have trouble stabilizing on the ball. Even if they can stabilize, the spine is in somewhat of an awkward position. Here's another way to perform the exercise to keep the spine healthy while challenging your core musculature.
Supine Stir the Pot
Performing this movement in the supine position promotes spinal integrity and fires up those deep core muscles.
- Grab a light to medium resistance band.
- Start by lying down on your back with your shoulders and lats pressed into the floor. You can do this with your legs straight, heels on the ground, or feet up.
- Grasp the band while keeping your arms in the air. Make sure you have adequate tension to activate your core.
- Make full circles with your arms while systematically breathing – keep your lats and ribcage down to prevent your body from externally rotating into a side-lying position.
Not tough enough? Try these more advanced progressions:
Supine Stir the Pot, 90 Degree Hip Bend
Supine Stir the Pot, Double Leg Lowering
Supine Stir the Pot, Alternating Lower Limbs (Deadbug)
These exercises are harder than they look, but they'll help you learn how to breathe more efficiently, stabilize your spine, and nail those deep core muscles.