Exercise Hacks Ep. 11 – Train the Abdominal Slings for a Functional Core

Two common sites for pain and movement problems are the low back and sacroiliac (SI) joints. The SI joints are a common site for sensitivity due to biomechanical overload.

Once we have screened for sensitivities, pain generators and movement dysfunction, the presence of SI joint dysfunction is often found along with poor abdominal sling function. Chiropractic adjustments are great for addressing joint dysfunction, but we must train movement through specific exercise.

Addressing abdominal sling function is critical as the SI joints receive stability from the force closure our musculature provides. Poor function of these abdominal slings results in poor stability (and often pain) in the SI joints during walking, running, squatting, lunging, bending, pushing or pulling.

Our abdominal slings are present on the front (anterior) and back (posterior) of our core. The anterior sling being made of the pec major, external oblique, internal oblique, and transverse abdominus. The posterior sling being made of the latissiums dorsi and opposite glute complex.

These exercises demonstrate how to strengthen the abdominal slings as a functional unit. You want to think transverse plane.

Cable chop variations are great for the anterior sling. Cable chops are excellent for building a functional anterior sling for stability and efficient force transfer, especially for front side mechanics as it relates to running, sprinting, jumping, and throwing.

The posterior sling can be targeted with Single-leg Romanian deadlift (RDL) variations as shown. Drawing tension through the lats and glutes provides the stability in the posterior sling to improve motor control of the lumbopelvic region for efficient hip extension. Clean, efficient and – at times – powerful hip extension is critical to a number of athletic movements as well as daily living.

Our hips should be the “King of Motion” in the body, yet many of us deal with tight hips and painful backs or SI joints as a consequence. Our hip movement must be trained and optimized, but the hips will only be as efficient as the abdominal slings allow.

For improved function and less pain, think outside the box when it comes to your abdominal training. Function serves a far greater purpose than aesthetics.

Give these exercises a shot. Let us know your thoughts or questions!


For more related reading:

The Beginner’s Guide to Injury Recovery

Improved Approach to Chronic Pain Management

3 Exercises for Athletic & Mobile Hips


Exercise Hacks Ep. 8 – Breathing and Bracing

Do You Really Need More Mobility?



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