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Get a Stronger Core With Perturbations

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Perturbations

You look down at your stomach and see washboard abs. That’s the dream, right? You’ve worked hard to build a strong core, and the results are apparent.

But looks can be deceiving. You may be able to perform advanced core moves, such as the Physioball Pike to Rollout, but that doesn’t mean your core is where it needs to be for your sport.

The thing is, sports are unpredictable. You never know when an opponent will attempt to knock you out of position. Collisions frequently happen in close quarters, even in supposedly "non-contact sports" like soccer or basketball.

“In sports, we don’t know when we are going to have to react to a certain movement,” says Bryan Meyer, Dwight Howard’s personal strength coach and owner of B Meyer Training. “We want to be prepared for what comes in front of us and react efficiently.”

RELATED: Research Discovers the Best Type of Core Exercise

For most of the core exercises you’re familiar with, the moves are preplanned. You’re instructed to perform a specific movement, and you go through it without interference. Yes, you’ll increase your strength, but you won't necessarily prepare your body for the unforeseen.

Enter perturbations, which Meyer defines as random external forces applied to the body during an exercise—typically by a partner.

According to a study published in the Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, core muscle activity—specifically in the rectus abdominal and external obliques—was significantly higher when unexpected loads were placed on the subjects’ torsos compared to expected loads.

Since your central nervous system can’t pre-program your muscles, your core is forced to react and engage to maintain stability against the sudden disturbance—similar to how it maintains stability on the field. This added stability protects your spine and helps prevent injuries.

Below are five core exercises with perturbations. They are challenging movements, so do only one per workout. If you’re unable to perform an exercise correctly without perturbations, focus first on mastering the basic movement before you add the unpredictable element.

Lunge Holds With Perturbations

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold your arms straight out to your sides with your thumbs pointing backwards.
  • Perform Forward Lunges with one leg for 10-15 seconds.
  • On your final rep, hold the lunge position.
  • Have a partner randomly tap your arms. Resist the movement.
  • Continue for the specified duration.

Sets/Duration: 1-2x10-15 seconds each leg

Single-Leg Stability Holds With Perturbations

  • Hold a med ball overhead against a wall.
  • Step back 3 to 4 feet so your body is at 30-degree angle.
  • Lift your leg so your thigh is parallel to the ground.
  • Have a partner push random body parts. Resist the movement.
  • Continue for the specified duration.

Sets/Duration: 1x10-15 seconds each leg

WATCH: Roy Hibbert Performs Single-Leg Stability Holds

Split-Stance Pallof Press With Perturbations

  • Stand in a split stance perpendicular to a cable machine.
  • Hold the cable handle in front of your chest with your arms straight.
  • Have a partner randomly tap your hands. Resist the movement.
  • Continue for the specified duration.

Sets/Duration: 1-2x10-15 seconds each leg

WATCH: Kevin Neeld Demonstrates the Split-Stance Pallof Press

Push-Up Iso Holds With Perturbations

  • Assume a push-up position with one foot 6 inches off the ground.
  • Lower into a Push-Up and hold. 
  • Have a partner randomly push the sides of your body. Resist the movement.
  • Continue for the specified duration.

Sets/Duration: 2-3x10-15 seconds

WATCH: Eric Cressey Demonstrates Push-Up Iso Holds

TRX High Plank With Perturbations

  • Assume a push-up position with your feet 6 inches above the ground in TRX straps. Hold this position.
  • Have a partner randomly tap your feet from side to side. Resist the movement.
  • Continue for the specified duration.

Sets/Duration: 2-3x10-15 seconds

WATCH: Doug Balzarini Demonstrates the TRX High Plank With Perturbations

This article originally appeared on STACK.com: Get a Stronger Core With Perturbations

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