Abs & Core Bodyweight Exercise

Top exercise to bullet proof your back for sports

Written by shapeshifter

We like being able to call on experts when we need specialized advice. One of the guys we consider part of our “team” is Eric Wong. This guy’s a wizard when it comes to building and maintaining healthy backs. So when we’ve got a question about backs he’s our go to guy…

When he told us his new Bulletproof Back was finally coming out — we’ve been waiting for it for a while now — we were really excited. And we asked him to share his favorite exercise for athletes or active people to shore up their backs. So if you live an active lifestyle or play a sport… listen up!


Eric Wong

One of my favourite exercises to develop multidimensional core stability in a challenging motor recruitment pattern is the T-lateral ball roll.

I like this one because it integrates the glutes and contralateral obliques and it requires stability in all 3 planes of motion.

eric_backexercise_1Any athlete engaged in a sport where rotational movements are used will benefit from this exercise – think tennis, hockey, boxing, baseball, golf, etc.

Here’s how to perform the exercise:

You start lying on your back on a Swiss ball with your hips held high.

Walk out to one side, keeping your spine in alignment and hips high, just like when you were on the middle of the ball.

eric_backexercise_2Hold for 5 seconds, then walk to the other side, repeating for 3-5 reps per side.

Also, it’s very important to make sure you breathe naturally when you do this exercise and avoid holding your breath.

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  • Adam,

    I don’t get it – the “walking” from one side to another. Are we walking N/S or E/W? Are we moving AWAY from the center of the ball to create an unstable configuration in order to recruit more stabilizer muscles?

    • Hey Paul,
      Yeah, you’re actually taking little steps with your feet so that you slide across the ball. As you move further to the side, you’ll need more and more core stabilization to maintain your position.

  • i believe it’s the latter Paul i.e moving away from the centre of the ball. Hence the integration of the contralateral obliques. I could be wrong but it looks a similar exercise to the one I do.

  • Hi Adam, I really appreciate this post on core exercises.

    It’s widely known that Dr McGill says it’s unsafe to train for back flexion immediately after you wake up, but wait for an hour after instead. With that in mind, is it safe for my back if I were to do a full body compound exercise routine (pullups, pushups, dips, inverted rows, etc) 30min after waking up? I also do ab circuits sometimes – a plank variation, an ab rollout and some Turkish get-ups or leg raises. However, I don’t want to end up hurting my back. What are your opinions (and Eric’s, if he’s here) on such training methods?

    • Start off with a thorough session of your Intu-Flow joint mobility. That flushes the joints, including the spine, and gets them ready for movement. The reason McGill frowns on flexion in the morning is because the spine is filled with fluid…

  • Hi Adam,
    Thanks for all the goodies you guys are always passing along! Your comment above on the morning spine fluid was helpful too. Go Intu-Flow!! 🙂
    In Eric’s pictures, it looks like we should be resting (so to speak – ha) on the ball right across our shoulderblades, in line with the outstretched arms, not on the lower back or mid back, is that correct?
    I just tried it that way, and I could tell that it was requiring my core for stabalization, but it kept my head/neck in a good position.
    Should I be holding a “stick” across my chest? Is that to help make sure (visual aid) that we aren’t dipping down and losing form as we walk to the side? or does it have another purpose?
    Is a stability ball OK to use, as opposed to a “Swiss” ball?
    Thanks again for everything!

    • Hi Margie,
      Yep, across the shoulder blades. The stick is a visual and kinesthetic aid, but not 100% necessary. Stability, swiss and physio balls are all just different words to explain the same thing. Unless you’ve got a different understanding of a stability ball. If it looks like what’s in the picture, you’re good to go… 😉

  • Ah, so mobility work would flush the fluid out and make it safe to do some back flexion exercises then? Thanks a lot for your advice. I feel reassured now!

  • Adam-

    Great blog. I love the CST approach. I did TACFIT commando for a couple months a little while ago, and never felt so ninja-like!

    Eric’s program helped me to heal a moderate disc herniation I got from doing a bunch of yard work with poor posture. I highly recommend it.

    Keep up the good work!


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