Phoenix Mercury strength & conditioning Coach Ben Hadley illustrates three exercises to help strengthen your core.
My name is Benjamin Hadley. I am the strength and conditioning coach for the Phoenix Mercury. I work with the players in strength training, corrective therapy, and conditioning.
I am going to give you three core exercise that you can do that are easy to do. We are going to use Candice Dupree. She is a forward with the Phoenix Mercury. Our first exercise is going to be the ab crunch. What she is going to do is lie down with her abs bent at a 90 degree angle, hands behind her head and all she is going to do is bring her shoulder blades off the ground, crunching about 30 degrees and then should blades right back down to the ground, and we are not flexing the hips, we are simply just crunching the abdomen, the rectus abdominus.
So the next core exercise we are going to do is called bird dog and what Candice is going to do is she is going to go on all fours and we are going to do alternating arm and leg reaches. So right arm, left leg, left arm, right leg – go ahead and reach out and the objective here is to maintain a straight hip, straight shoulders and a neutral spine.
She is going to hold for about five to seven seconds, bring it down and then we are going to alternate left arm, right leg; there we go. Again, we are trying to keep these hips parallel to the shoulders. It’s good. This is good for the lower back. It’s good for the gluts, as well as the transverse abdominals.
Okay, the third core training movement that we are going to do is called a side plank. There’s a couple of variations to the side plank. The first one we are going to do is from the knees. All right, so Candice is going to put her weight on her forearm and we are going to start with the knee so go ahead and bend your knees 90 degrees and what we are looking for here is the torso and legs to be inline. So you are going to push your hips forwards so your torso and legs are in inline and we are just going to elevate the hips and we got this straight line here. This is the easy version.
Now the more difficult version is a plank on the feet so the feet are going to be stacked, go and extend out, you’re going to lift the hips up and you could hold this movement for a period of time depending on how long you can hold it or we can actually do a hip lifts, so go ahead and do some hip lifts on these. Just a side plank hip lift; and these are extraordinarily good for working lateral hips, as well as the obliques.
If you are wondering how many of these exercises to do, how many repetitions, you are just going to go to fatigue or near fatigue and it’s going to be very specific to the individual. Some people may be able to do even two or three sets of each exercise.
About Ben Hadley:
Strength and conditioning coach Ben Hadley is in his fourth season with the Mercury administering strength and performance training as well as preventative therapy. Hadley joined the Mercury with a wealth of experience in strength training including the owner of Sgt. Hadley’s Fitness Boot Camp. Prior to joining the Mercury he spent four years with the Marine Corps as a physical fitness trainer and martial arts instructor. He has also spent four years as an exercise and wellness student at Arizona State University.