Have you ever bent over to pick something up and thrown out your back? Or had to grab something off the floor with one hand and felt like you were going to fall over? Or simply, how comfortable are you just standing on one leg?
These are all products of no having the proper strength, from one side of your body to the other, to stabilize in areas that require you to be stable. I know that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense right now, so, as one of our members at The Den would say, let me splain in to you.
The “core” of your body is a powerful area. It connects your lower body to your upper body and helps you create stability while performing in everyday life. Most of us have zero strength in our cores due to lack of use and lack of PROPER training. I know what you’re thinking…”but Jerry, I do crunches and situps and Russian twists and I still have back problems”. Yes, like I said, PROPER training is what you need to develop core strength.
You see, the muscles of the core are meant to stabilize. Meaning, when you go to pick something up, the your abdominal muscles, oblique muscles and other core muscles have to “turn on” to stabilize you and keep you from falling over. And exercises like crunches and Russian twists don’t teach your core to stabilize. They teach your core to crunch and twist.
The hard thing for many people to appreciate is that training your core doesn’t have to look like training your core (makes tons of sense, I know). Quality core training should be hidden in your training routine in plain sight. So you should be putting in exercises that, on the surface look like they’re training a totally unrelated muscle group, but underneath are developing a core that can stabilize a house.
Don’t know how an exercise like that looks? Enter the Single-Leg Deadlift
The Single-Leg Deadlift (SLDL from here on) is the ultimate exercise for overall body development. Not only does it develop a good butt and hamstrings, it also develops a core that won’t let you down when you bend over to tie your shoes.
Remember the question about bending over to pick something up and throwing your back out? The SLDL trains the body in a way that prevents that from happening. It trains the body to stabilize weight on one side of the body while doing the work of lifting it up with the other side of the body.
Perform this exercise 1 to 2 times a week. Be sure to grease the movement before adding too much weight to it. Ironically, a little bit of weight seems to help keep you stabilized as opposed to no weight at all, so don’t be friend to pick something small up if you’re having trouble staying upright.