This is a very aggressive form of hamstring strengthening and as such, realize you will get a fairly significant amount of muscle soreness with. Start with a lower number of reps and sets (2 sets of 6) and progress yourself over an extended period of time to 3 sets of 15 reps.
Studies have shown that core strengthening is a critical part of preventing of both lower limb injuries as well as upper limb. For grapplers, this is a key component to a successful game. With an increase in core strength, your sweeps from guard not only become more powerful but also much quicker. In addition, take downs that involve hip tosses or throws become much more effective and stronger with a strong core. Traditionally, when we think of the core we think of 6 pack abs. However, the core is a three dimensional structure. There are the abdominals, internal/external obliques and erector spinae. To train them effectively, we need to add some core training.
Planks: The plank is a great exercise for the abdominals (rectus abdominus and transverse abdominus) and the spinal extensors (erector spinae, multifidus and quadratus lumborum). These are key for posturing up in someone's guard as well as a lot of the bent over attack positions we get into.
A plank is one of the most common exercises we see people do for core but it is also one of the exercises we see done incorrectly most of the time. As depicted in this picture, the feet should be positioned all the way together, the knees are straight (not bent) hips are in a neutral hip position (not flexed or extended), spine in a neutral position, shoulder and elbows at 90 degrees and maintain a downward gaze with a neutral cervical spinal position. Most people who do this exercise (80%+) do not maintain this position. Most will position their hips in the air or allow one hip to drop down. This position should be maintained for minimum of 1 minute in duration.
Side Plank: The side planks are a great exercise for the gluteus medius as well as the core stabilizers (internal/external obliques, quadratus lumborum, and tranverse abdominus) as well as the shoulder girdle. However, this is also one of the exercises we see done incorrectly a majority of the time.
- Hips to drop down or move up
- Ankle stays in neutral position and you keep your shin off the ground
- Your hips and/or shoulders do not roll forward or backwards
- Head remains in neutral position