Trying to do any sophisticated bodyweight exercise without a strong and balanced core is like trying to shoot a canon from a canoe. Not only is it a bad idea, it could be rather hazardous.
That’s why we always work through a series of gradually more sophisticated exercises that starts wherever the trainee needs to start…
This gives the nervous system, and the individual structural elements like muscles and connective tissue, the chance to gradually adapt. It also keeps our development under the radar of knee jerk counter reactions like unnecessary bracing, which limit proper function of the symphony of muscles we collectively call the core.
And that melodious collection of muscles and connective tissue affectionately known as the core includes much more than the mystical six pack muscle, the rectus abdominus. In fact, it encompasses far more even than the obliques and transversus abdominis.
I’d go so far as to say that everything from the mid thigh up to the rib cage—at least—could be included in the core. And if you look at the way the facia runs (that’s the stuff that houses your muscle tissue), it’s not much of a stretch.
And that’s why moving towards more sophisticated movement patterns is so important in developing good core function. We need to systematically teach the muscles to fire properly on their own and then come together as a team.
Once the team is all making nice and working together. You can start asking them to do some pretty cool stuff. One of my favorite bodyweight exercises for the core is a Forearm Scorpion.
It’s really a full body exercise that develops some sophisticated movement capacity. But it also requires serious recruitment of the core.
The obliques and quadratus lumborum will be active in stabilizing the core as we move into the end position. The rectus is required as we pass through the neutral “plank” position. The entire sling of muscle and connective tissue from the far side hip to the same side shoulder is involved in “stinging” the foot to the side. And the sling from the front of the same side shoulder all the way down to the far knee is involved in bringing it back.
So, as you can see, there’s a lot going on. But that’s not the most important thing. The best thing about the forearm Scorpion is… it’s FUN. And at the same time it develops the synergy of the core through functional movement.
Try it! And let us know below what you think? Did you find it challenging? Easy? What gave you trouble? What did you enjoy?