6 Week Core Stability Program
Note: The attached video was filmed vertically on a cell phone. Make sure to watch it “full screen”! The Programming Spreadsheet and Companion Piece (a copy of what’s written below) is available to download at the bottom of the page.
6 Week Core Stability Program
The following program is built upon one of my most challenging experiences as a professional fighter. In early 2009, I was diagnosed with a herniated disc and a torn annulus (L4/L5 joint). This massively derailed my momentum as an up-and-coming regional fighter, and the specialists I saw originally told me that I would never compete again.
It took a lot of hard work, a LOT of mistakes, and a little bit of good fortune to finally find the right person to help me out. He diagnosed my problem properly, and worked with me to build out a proper recovery routine.
There were two major factors in my back injury: first, my body mechanics were poor. I did not have proper rotational stability, and therefore my spine was taking a lot of stress every time I rotated for a punch or kick or throw. Secondly, I was training super hard, and was generating a lot of power in my strikes. This led, eventually, to my injury.
The main focus of my rehabilitation was developing enough rotational stability to support and protect my spine under intense training.
I did eventually get back into professional competition, and I noticed that when I returned to training, my punches and kicks were much harder.
This experience led me to understand the mechanics of striking in a much deeper way, and allowed me to develop better programming for my athletes that would both increase their power, and also keep them safe and extend their longevity in this sport.
The following program is a 6-week version of this same rehabilitation program that I underwent 10 years ago.
Please pay close attention to and observe the following guidelines:
Stability training works in two ways. The first is intuitive–we stress our muscles, and they get stronger. This is obvious. However, we will additionally be re-training our body to move differently. Therefore, any exercise done improperly will not be effective.
It is of paramount importance to keep the intensity low, and only operate within the boundaries of proper technique. High intensity stability training can be counterproductive at best, and downright dangerous at worst.
This 6 week program is broken down into a beginner phase (weeks 1-2), an intermediate phase (weeks 3-4), and an advanced phase (weeks 5-6).
Everyone is different, and our progress will not be at the same pace. Some of you may stay within the beginner phase for 6 weeks. Some of you may skip the beginner phase and go right into the intermediate phase.
Don’t be in a rush to go to the advanced stuff first – if anything, start at a relaxed pace and work your way up. Rotational stability is difficult to build on top of a poor foundation, so make sure you have the ability to perform the front plank, side plank, hollow rocks, and superman exercises effectively.
Also, the goal is to not make adjustments when you start pulling “legs out of the table.” It can be helpful to film yourself performing the Plank and Reach exercise and observe whether your hips are shifting from side to side to adjust to the removal of a stability point.
Feel free to adjust the # of repetitions or the length of the planks. It should be challenging, but not very intense. You should finish the circuit feeling worked, but not exhausted.
As soon as you go beyond the limits of your muscular system’s ability to keep you stable, you will start stressing your spine. This is not good. Do not go to “failure” on your exercises, and try to operate at no more than 80% intensity.
Each week is broken up into 3 days — I recommend you stagger these out every other day.
Stay consistent with this, and I guarantee you will see some major improvements in your striking!
Let’s get after it!
Yours in training,
The North Star Academy