Exercise of the Month - Anterior Core

Developing the anterior core is an essential part of the training process and should focus heavily in training programs, particularly with beginners – Where focussing on getting it activated and firing patterns are of upmost importance.

The anterior core in this instance includes all muscles on the front of the body that are involved in bringing the pelvis and head closer together, and the following blog piece will look at how we develop our members from the most basic of floor exercises to the more advanced.

First working on simple activation and contraction to eventually resisting both extension and rotation and eventually looking at bracing techniques with the McGill curl up


Level 1 – Activation

Activation stage is looking at simply utilising the abdominals effectively to be able to tilt the pelvis toward rib before lifting the head and shoulder blades off the floor and engaging the whole anterior core musculature.

Once this has been achieved effectively you can lock it into a tighter position by lifting your toes off the floor and pointing them at the ceiling.

Develop your ability to hold this position for up to 60 – 90 seconds by first holding for 3 – 4 sets of

20s on 10s off for 90 seconds
30s on 15s off for 120 seconds
45 on 30s off for 150second
60s plus

Be sure to focus on pushing the naval to the floor through the spine to create the correct tension and be careful not to bellow the stomach out when you perform the exercise.

Anterior Core - Part 1

Level 2 – Anti Extension

Once you have achieved the ability to hold level 1 for 60s plus you can start to focus on your ability to rest forces and look at raising and lowering the legs.

Follow the same process in level 1 to achieve the position and again focus on your ability to prevent the stomach from bellowing whilst pushing the naval to the floor through the spine. Additionally pay attention to any movement in the pelvis both anterior/posterior direction or any rotations as you move your legs. Your ability to perform and develop the exercise should be judged on your ability to maintain stillness through the pelvis

Start first by lifting one knee to the wrist before lowering and bringing the other leg up. When you can complete 10 reps on each leg move to the next phase

Raise one leg up at a time bringing both legs into contact with the wrists which now becomes the start position and start to work on lowering one foot to the floor before returning to the wrist and dropping the other leg, again be able perform 10 reps with each leg before you move onto the final phase of this level

Finally from the starting position of the knees touching the wrists lower both legs to the floor and return to the wrists.

When performing each of these phases ensure you go through the process of level 1 ensuring correct activation throughout and when the wrists are in contact with the knees apply a small amount of pressure between the two to increase activation.

Anterior Core - Part 2

Level 3 – Anti Extension & Rotation

Focus here again on maintaining activation and integrity through the pelvis whilst maintaining pressure between the wrist and knee on the side that remains in contact, and when getting into the starting position follow the process outlined in the previous two levels to get to that start position.

Anterior Core - Part 3

Level 4 – Bracing techniques

When we reach level 4 we change everything up a little and start to focus on the bracing of the core whilst maintaining a neutral spine rather than looking to flatten the lumbar section.

Place one hand under your back whilst performing to ensure integrity of the neutral spine is maintained whilst placing the other on the stomach to feel the contraction of the abdominals whilst raising the head away from the floor.

Anterior Core - Part 4

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