Smart Core Training Week 9 - The Fallout/Rollout Progressions
It’s hard to believe, but we’re moving into week 9 of Smart Core Training already! Hopefully you’ve been incorporating some or all of the previous week’s core exercises into your exercise routine. If you have, then you may be ready to progress to some more challenging core exercises, and that’s what I have for you today!
One of my favorite ways to progress anterior core stability is to add some variations that make the plank more challenging. A couple weeks ago, in week 7, I overviewed the plank, and how that can be used to effectively train the muscles of the anterior core to prevent extension at the lumbar spine.
Now, there are many different variations of the plank itself, whether you incorporate lifting of one of your legs or arms off the ground to create a rotary stability challenge, or you incorporate unstable surface training by putting your forearms on a stability ball during the plank.
All these variations make for a good increase in challenge to your core stability. However, today’s core exercises are some of my favorite progressions because they add both a really good, and scalable (i.e. you can make it harder or easier) challenge to your anterior core stability, while also incorporating the added benefit of promoting shoulder mobility.
If you recall from the dead bug exercise, one of the best ways to progress core stability training is to use exercises that focus on stability at the core while promoting mobility through the hips and shoulders. That’s exactly what we find in today’s exercises, as you must maintain perfect plank-like stability through the core, as you access near full range of motion overhead shoulder mobility. The perfect combo!
Take a look at my demonstration of the TRX Fallout and the Physio Ball/Barbell Rollout exercises below and give them a shot!
To summarize the TRX Fallout and Rollout Progressions:
What are they?
The Fallout/Rollout progressions are an incredible way to challenge your anterior core stability at a high level, while also promoting good overhead shoulder mobility. The benefit of the TRX Fallout, in particular, is that you can really adjust the challenge of the exercise to suit your ability.
I didn’t mention it in the video, but you can make the TRX Fallout much easier by walking your feet out so you start more vertical, and you can make it much harder by walking your feet back to start from a more horizontal position.
Either way, as you move through the exercise, and bring the arms overhead, you’re asking the core muscles to really engage and stabilize as you lengthen the lever arm away from the core, which creates more torque on the core.
For a quick physics lesson: Torque = The Force placed on an object x the lever (or moment) arm. That means that you can increase the torque on the spine (and thus the challenge to the core muscles to stabilize against that torque), by either increasing the force or increasing the lever arm.
In this scenario, the force of gravity pushing down on the spine increases as you move from a more vertical to horizontal position. PLUS, the length of the lever arm increases as the arms move away from the core, creating an exponentially increasing challenge to the core muscles to prevent the spine from dropping into extension!
So, you can see why the fallout/rollout progressions make for such a good core stability challenge!
I typically like to keep the number of reps in a given set of fallouts or rollouts to a max of 8. Limiting the amount of reps in a set helps to ensure that you’re not losing control of the core and moving into hyperextension of the lumbar spine.
Once again, control of the movement is the key here, not how many you can do. Starting with 1 or 2 sets, you can work your way up to 3 or 4 sets of 8 reps, which should be plenty of challenge.
If you think you can’t get enough challenge to your core muscles in your workouts without doing sit-ups, crunches, or that ab flex machine you see in every commercial gym; go ahead and try 4 sets of 8 barbell rollouts, and let me know how you feel the next day.
Because of the larger force on the spine and core muscles, I tend not to overdo fallouts and rollouts. Once you work up to this level of challenge, it’s best to keep it to once per week in your workouts.
However, as I’ve said before, it’s a great idea to incorporate one day of more advanced core stability training with the fallout or rollout, and another day of more basic core training, with exercises like the dead bug.
This way, you can begin to incorporate varying intensities of core training throughout the week to really round out your core training program.
That’s it for the bridge today, but I’ll be back next week with week 10 of Smart Core Training!