Best Exercises for Dynamic Trunk Control

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Best Core Exercises For Athletes

The core controls our center of mass. If we are playing sports like tennis or baseball, the core contributes to rotational power. The core helps us transfer the energy from the force applied to the planet up through the body and into an object (think of a shot putter). 


We can look at core-based training through isolation movements and compound movements. A great example of an isolation movement is performing an ab roller. A compound movement might be more dynamic like a power snatch to train the core through dynamic movement. A few other isolation movements that are grand are V-ups or even sliding abs in a plank position.


We know that the core helps with acceleration, dynamic trunk control, and agility, and the core can be trained through isolation and compound movements. Athletes' responses are very dependent on their sport and genetic disposition. 

Zombie Squat & Ab Roller

My favorite way to train athletes with weak cores is by programming zombie squats. Zombie squats demand core stability. An athlete’s core must keep the trunk vertical or risk the barbell sliding right off the chest. The dynamic effort of a zombie squat does wonders as a compound movement in training the core. 

Doing a set of two or three reps of a zombie squat set and then following it up with the isolation movement of the ab roller is 6-pack development technology. Do the ab roller for 17 reps. The combination of a compound movement, the zombie squat, and an isolation movement, the ab roller, puts the core under long durations of stress and demands tension. The core can’t help but strengthen like Conan.

Alternating Split Lunge Switch & Swinging RDL With Hydro-weight

Here are two of my favorite exercises that help with uni-directional speed. The movements carry over as drastic trunk training. Start in a split lunge and then quickly transfer to the other leg in the lunge. Don’t so much as jump up but be fast and alternate which leg is forward. The hips don’t rise, the legs just alternate, coming off the ground just enough to be able to switch which foot is forward and backward in the lunge. Forgot to mention, the whole time a hydro-weight is held overhead. It is important to hold the posture with the shoulders, trunks, core, and hips lined up and firing together.

The next movement, the swinging RDL with a hydro-weight, is felt in the oblique. Holding the hydro-weight, we stand on one leg. We swing the hydro-weight to the side of the planted leg. The hydro-weight swings to the side and we turn slightly in the core. Like a pendulum, we then swing the hydro-weight back in front of the body. There is a slight turn that takes place through the core, thus the feeling in the obliques. Focus on staying firm from the foot, through the hamstring, and into the core. The movements help the body become more stable and balanced.

Med Ball Side Jump To Throw & Banded Rotational Punch

The next way we want to focus on training core-based exercises for athletes is that we want to get into rotational work. Rotational work helps baseball players, combat sports athletes, throwers, cricketers, and every athlete out there. The great thing about training rotational work is that we can do it aggressively because doing the rotation at the speed of action in the specific sport transfers incredibly well.  

Dynamic trunk control

The first exercise requires a hard shell medicine ball. Holding the med ball in both hands, jump laterally off a single leg. Land on the opposite leg in a single leg landing and immediately rotate and launch the ball in the same direction as the first jump. The movement needs to be aggressive, especially in the rotation. Mark where the med ball lands to have an aiming point to beat. 


The next rotational exercise, the banded rotational punch, is best performed with PowerLastic bands. With the PowerLastic band anchored to a non-movable point, throw a rotational punch through the hips, core, and arm. After hitting the endpoint of the punch, control the eccentric movement so that it is slow. The key is to focus on speed, slow eccentric, and rapid rotation.

Hydro-weight Tornado

This exercise is the most advanced exercise that can be performed for rotational-based exercises. Holding a hydro-weight, we plant one leg. With the other leg, we step backward and forward, backward and forward, backward and forward. The kicker is the whole time a hydro-weight is being held as it swings side to side. Make sure to do both sides by switching the plant leg. The tornado helps improve cutting and teaches the body how to produce a ton of force into the ground into an opponent or object. It is an extremely advanced exercise.

When To Use Core Exercises

We got to start by saying that Day 1 is Leg Power Development, Day 2 is Upper Body Power Development, Day 3 is Athlete Day, and Day 4 is Impulse Day.


Typically we take individuals and use dynamic trunk control movements and advanced plyometric and reflexive strength movements and put that on their athlete day. For athletes who have physical imbalances, issues using their core, or their core is incredibly weak, we will use contrast methods. Contrast methods are used on Day 4, the impulse day, by combining a compound movement, like the zombie squat, with an isolation movement, like the ab wheel.

Recap

We went over how the core plays into dynamic trunk control. We talked about contrast methods using full-body dynamic movements with isolation exercises. We even talked about our favorite tools we like to use and the specific days to train the core within a weekly periodization model. And don’t forget to cultivate your power to become a freak athlete. 


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Welcome to the Garage Strength Blog, where it is my goal to provide you with the experience and knowledge I've gained in the strength and conditioning world over many years of learning from both successes and failures. I train elite-level athletes in a multitude of sports from the high school to professional levels, already producing 5 Olympics and 30+ National Champions. If you want to be the next champion I train, check out my strength programs below!

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