If you read my article 4 Brutal Exercises That Build Extreme Core Strength, you probably fall into one of three categories. Maybe you have a very strong core and were able to attempt and conquer the 4 exercises. Some of you may have attempted them and failed. And I'm sure that some of you out there didn't even try them, knowing that your core training regimen has not been adequate enough.
By now some have you have started the 4 week progression detailed in Core Strength Blueprint 1.1 and are working towards a perfectly executed Barbell Climb. Today I am going to share with you the next 4 week progression - this one is designed to help you build the strength and stability required to do Standing Medicine Ball Rollouts. Use this workout once per week in conjunction with the other Core Strength Blueprints.
|- Ab Wheel or Barbell Rollout||1||12|
|- Medicine Ball Pushup||3||Max|
|Medicine Ball Plank (from knees)||3||20secs.|
For week 1, start with a superset of 12 reps on the Ab Wheel and Medicine Ball Push-Ups for max reps. Rest roughly 1 minute between each round then transition to a medicine Ball Plank from your knees for 3 sets of 20 seconds. On the Medicine Ball Plank, walk the ball out just to before your "breaking point,” and on all of these movements it is important to keep your abs flexed and engaged to keep the pressure off your low back. Here's a quick preview of week 1 & 2 exercises:
|- Ab Wheel or Barbell Rollout||1||20|
|- Medicine Ball Pushup||3||Failure|
|Medicine Ball Plank (from knees)||3||30secs.|
On the second week, the only real change is that we are going to increase the repetitions and also the length of time on the Med Ball Plank. Try to see if you can hold the Plank position with the Med ball out a little further extended than last week.
|Barbell Roll Outs||1||30|
|Medicine Ball Plank (from knees)||3||Failure|
This week you will start with one of my all around favorite exercises - the Barbell Rollouts. These are similar movement to the Ab Wheel, but you will instead use a barbell loaded with either 95lbs or 135lbs (the bigger the plates, the greater range of motion and level of difficulty). Grab the bar with a shoulder width grip, keep your core tight and roll out until your chest hits the ground. These really work what my friend Tom Ryan (Ohio State University head wrestling coach) calls the "snap down muscles" - the lats, serratus and upper abdomen - in addition to the hip flexors and lower abs and back. After you have completed 30 Barbell Roll Outs, either in a single set or several smaller sets, move on to 3 sets of Medicine Ball Plank for Max Time.
|Medicine Ball Roll Outs (from knees)||3||8|
|Barbell Roll Outs||1||25|
Ok, time to break out the big guns. If you are going to be capable of doing a Standing Medicine Ball Rollout, then we better get good at doing them from your knees first. These are slightly harder than both the Ab Wheel and the Barbell Roll Outs, and unlike both of them the hardest part on this movement is rolling the ball back in. After 3 sets of 8 roll outs with the med ball, rest 2 minutes then crank out one big set of 25 Barbell Roll Outs. Rest another 2 minutes then hit 2 sets of 5 Chinese Push Ups. Place your hands out in front of you, crunch forward to engage your abs, then simply push up and lower yourself back to the ground under control. Reset your abs then go again. If you feel your chest coming off the ground before your hips then your abs are not tight enough and your lower spine is vulnerable. Concentration on each rep is key! Here's a couple of more Chinese Pushups:
The following week you should be ready to conquer the Standing Med Ball Roll Out. Even getting 1 clean rep is an accomplishment - keep doing them regularly and you will be up to 5 solid reps in no time. Hopefully these Blueprints have changed the way you think about core training and you are making some serious gains in the strength department. Up next is the Core Strength Blueprint 1.3 which will show you the progression from a basic Plank to a weighted one, a position I have been known to do timed holds with 225lbs on my back! Good luck and get after it!