Here’s why I consider this stabilizer as an absolute MUST-HAVE training tool when it comes to training core stability the RIGHT way.
You Get Objective Feedback!
Think about it: objective feedback that tells us, “are we doing it correctly?” or “aren’t we doing it correctly?” is what every single one of us needs at a time like this.
We can’t rely simply on how “it feels.” We can’t rely on guesswork, not at this level. We have to KNOW for certain we’re doing it correctly (or not), and that we understand WHY we’re doing it too.
This only happens with objective information to tell us, “is this what I am supposed to do?” “Is it how I am supposed to do it?”
To dig a bit deeper into this, let me ask you a question:
Have you ever been to a gym and watched someone who was exercising, doing something similar to these leg lifts on the floor? This is a very popular movement in yoga classes, bootcamp classes, etc.
Here’s an image of the movement I’m talking about:
Look familiar at all?
Sometimes they’ll have their hands under their low-back for support, other times they won’t.
If you consider what the purpose of this training is all about, and just how difficult this movement is to do correctly, you can imagine the potential problem here.
What do I mean?
To review a very important concept central to your progress and understanding: the purpose of core stability is to stop or control motion in one place, in the presence of motion somewhere else. In our case and for our purposes here, that “stillness” and control needs to occur in our low-back.
We don’t want excessive arch of the low-back, nor do we want the low-back to flatten or flex. After all, THAT is the entire purpose for this basic Abdominal Brace exercise – to help you learn how to create that stillness and thus stability, while lifting a leg or moving your arm.
Think about it: lifting BOTH legs up off the floor???
That’s very hard to do – because when you lift your legs like this, there’s a LOT of load on your trunk. Not sure what I mean, give it a try!
Naturally, it would be less load and easier to perform for someone who was small in size or had very short legs, and vice versa, much more difficult for someone with long legs.
Now, because of the inherent load, imagine the amount of movement (most likely, a big arch) in the low back.
If you’re not sure what I mean, get down on the floor and try it.
Here’s what will happen: as your legs rise, your low-back will ARCH. Perhaps, a LOT!
And that isn’t a good thing if the goal is to have your entire trunk and core functioning as it should be.
What do I mean?
Your body is attempting to stabilize your trunk/core WITH the muscles of the low-back, while the other muscles around the trunk fail to do THEIR job effectively, especially the lower abdominal region. That isn’t the responsibility of the muscles in and around your low-back. After all, just because of our normal lives, are probably already over-stressing the back to begin with, hence our core not being quite as stable or strong as it ultimately needs to be.
Remember the goal of core stability my friend: to maintain stillness and control in THAT area (the low-back), so that the other areas such as the extremities, can move freely. With control.
What role does the stabilizer play in all of this?
As you think about all of this… and imagine (while thinking of that leg lift exercise) in your mind’s eye, your lower-back arching mightily and feeling the strain as you lifted your legs up, all the while increasing stress ON your back and increasing your risk of injury in the process… you’ll then be able to come back to WHY this objective feedback from the stabilizer is so valuable!
With it, you can watch and move perfectly. At this most basic level, near-perfection is our goal. After all, if we can’t stabilize our core at the lowest dynamic level, how on earth will it get better as dynamic load increases?
It won’t. It can’t.
Think about it.
With the gauge, you’ll see the needle moving, indicating you’re either arching or flattening your back – that’s not our goal.
Or…if you’re doing it as intended, you’ll see the needle remain still – almost as though it’s painted onto the dial. That is your goal. Keep that entire mid-section still, demonstrating good stability of the core in the process.
It’s an essential starting point for more advanced skills. Master this. Make it unconscious – automatic. Every other movement we do in this program is based upon this foundational skill.
Onward we go!