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Core Conditioning 101 - Total abdominal conditioner

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This edition of Core Conditioning 101 focuses on the 'Swissball Prone Roll Out' a rather long winded name but a great, simple exercise for conditioning the whole Abdominal musculature.  It integrates the inner (stabiliser) unit muscles with the outer (movement) unit muscles to produce a fully functional abdominal exercise that should be the bedrock of your core workouts.  Here's what you need to know....... The video below will take you through a demonstration of the exercise so rather than repeat a lot of information I'm just going to put up a couple of checkpoints for getting the most out of this exercise.  Please feel free to ask any questions you might have in the comment section if you want more detail.

- Begin in a kneeling position with your hips directly above the knees.  A common fault is to sit back on the heels at the start, leaving "dead space" in the movement.  You should feel the engagement of the abdominal wall throughout.

- When you are in your starting position first draw-up the belly button as if you were trying to make space between your stomach and waistband.  If this movement is difficult to isolate you may have an inhibited TVA and I would strongly advise you to seek assistance from a trained professional for help activating it.  An inhibited TVA has been a precursor to a great many low back and SI joint injuries and not something you want to leave unchecked.

- Aim to move evenly from the hips and shoulders.  Another common fault when learning this move is to just reach forward with the arms and have the hips remain still.

- Only move as far as you can stabilise your spine.  To check this it can be helpful to perform the move side-on to a mirror so that you can take a little sideways look to check on your form.  There should be no change to the curvatures of the spine at any stage of the exercise.

- If you find you get an increase in the curve of the lower back (so it looks like you are sticking your bum out) it can indicate tight hip flexors and weak lower abdominals.  Have this checked out by a skilled corrective exercise professional if you see it happening.  It isn't a big job but it does need the right corrections to be made.

- If you find that your head drops forward or you "round" the middle of your back (near the base of the shoulder blades) this is indicative of an overly excited Rectus Abdominis (6 pack muscle) and this can play havoc with your back.  If you notice this then it is imperative that you stop the exercise and seek help from a trained corrective exercise professional like myself who can assess what is causing the rectus to become dominant.

- If all goes well then you should experience a strengthening contraction of the abdominal wall akin to a corset being tightened as you roll forward.

- Don't forget our Core Conditioning Class at 5pm on Thursdays.  A great way to start learning some fantastic core conditioning tips.
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