As is true for strength band exercises, any time a toner is elongated, load or resistance increases. That truth results in 1) more progressive load at the beginning of a movement that is not otherwise sufficiently loaded, and 2) an increasing load throughout the ROM as the strength curve of a movement increases. Put simply, advanced toners (elastic resistance) can help to optimize beginning, mid and end range of motion loads. The line of pull created by the toner (depending on attachment point), can challenge a multitude of multi-planar patterns.
This 4-exercise progression using toners emphasizes core stabilization and dynamic rotary strength development in movements that transfer to activities of daily life and sport performance. Any time you hit a baseball, slap a puck, kick a ball, punch or throw, you are using elements of this skill progression. Foundationally, a key to this progression being performed safely and correctly, is ability to, on the part of the athlete—stabilize or brace the core.
Linking optimal ground-up power development—legs transferring power to the upper body via the core—is very dependent on an ability to turn the core on and off as needed (core bracing).
These 4 exercises can act as stand alone exercises, or be performed like the video clip shows, as a smooth progression.
What to look for when you’re performing the movements:
1) Rotary core
Set up with a core brace and athletic stance. The knees are slightly flexed, but minimize any down/up movement as you rotate around a neutrally braced core. Your core sets proper movement progression when it is braced via spinal/pelvic stabilization. During this exercise, think about the arms “going along for the ride,” rather than “doing all of the work” or initiating the movement.
2) Rotary core w/ hip drive
Now that you have the core brace incorporated, begin the same movement (#1) by flexing at the ankles, knees and hips (triple flexion). Initiate the movement with a core brace and triple flexion. As the athlete trip extends (ankle, knee and hip extension), maintain the core brace and only finish the movement with the arms after the weight transfer occurs toward the end of triple extension. Don’t alter the sequence by allowing the arms to come into play early in the movement. The hips are a power producer and contributed to the expression of power more efficiently after the core links hip power production to the upper body. Mantra: the arms go along for the ride!
3) Rotary single arm push (R/L)
Perform this movement exactly as #2, except for, as the arms come into play at the end of the movement, the inside arm finishes the pattern as a single arm push.
4) Rotary 180-switch
The same rotary movement pattern that was developed in the sequence 1-3, can be performed as a 180-switch sequence. Maintain the quality of each repetition (core brace, triple flexion, triple extension, arms finish the movement) and focus on clean footwork that is consistent from rep to rep. The footwork will feel awkward if the athlete is not getting a distinct weight shift from foot to foot.
Depending on the load (thickness of the toner or stretch put on the band), perform 8-15 reps per exercise. Perform the reps on both right/left sides. You can orient the workout toward strength or muscular endurance based on loading. Perform single or multiple sets. Use higher reps for maintenance type workouts and lighter loads when emphasizing power (80-85% of max). Use lower reps and more controlled movement speed with increased load, where strength is the focus. Remember, you can perform the exercises as individual movement patterns, or as a single skill sequence. Movement speed can be increased as desired, and as is goal appropriate.
Rotary based and core bracing-type exercises are fun, interesting, effective and skill based. Your athletes and clients will love them as for many, this will represent a new and fresh genre of exercise movement. Loaded—just add resistance—integrated whole body training is always a plus when you can add it to your performance training programs. These exercises deserve a spot in your conditioning lineup!
Douglas Brooks, MS, Exercise Physiologist, Director of Education for COREFX®, is a former-Ironman® triathlete and former Athlete Conditioning Coach for Sugar Bowl Ski Academy where he works with elite junior and professional athletes. Douglas was inducted into the U.S. National Fitness Hall of Fame and has been honored by Can-Fit-Pro as the International Presenter of the Year. Coach Brooks is the author of numerous training books, and most recently, was the recipient of the IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year Award.