Sheathing: why should it be a priority?

As often in bodybuilding, fundamental exercises are not worked, left aside in favor of exercises that impress, where the load developed is important.
Cladding is one of these fundamental exercises, because it is of very functional interest and is found on almost all sports gestures and movements Daily.

Combat sport, racket sports, running… Whatever the discipline, having a good cladding will often be a determining condition for progress. So why is sheathing so important and which exercises should be favored?

The interest of sheathing

The sheathing – also called joint stability – is the antihero of abdominal strengthening. Unlike crunches which are Ab exercises having a rather aesthetic purpose (which will mainly strengthen the rectus abdominis, in other words the visible part of the abs), the different forms of sheathing will accentuate the work of the deep abdominal muscles, the invisible abs but extremely useful for the body (beware, visible abs still have a function).

A balanced abdominal strap

The sheathing will not only strengthen the deep abs but also the entire abdominal strap (dorsal, lumbar, para-vertebral muscles) depending on the position chosen. In d ‘ In other words, core strengthening helps strengthen most of the muscles around the spine.

It therefore offers the advantage of working in a balanced way, which is essential to achieve your goals safely (weight loss, muscle mass gain, performance, correcting bad postures, etc.).

A good transfer of force

Having a sheathed trunk will have a strong impact on strength gain. To perform a full functional movement, such as picking up or throwing an object, the transfer of force is always done lower limbs to upper limbs. The link between these two parts is the trunk. And when the loads get heavy, having a sheathed and balanced trunk is no longer an option to be able to make the connection between the lower and the upper body.

Performance increase

As a direct consequence of the transfer of force, joint stability will have an impact on performance. An athlete with strong legs and shoulders but who has a rather weak core will have a margin of lower progression compared to an athlete focusing on his sheathing in parallel.

In reality it is rather difficult to have powerful legs but a weak core, because the majority of the most interesting exercises to develop the legs (such as the squat for example) will strengthen the muscles at the same time involved in sheathing.

Unless the movement is executed in an unsafe manner or if the he athlete only works on isolation movements, he will necessarily develop his sheathing, or otherwise he will expose himself to the risk of injury. What you just have to understand is that the work of the sheathing helps increase performance.

Reducing the risk of injury

Having a sheathed trunk is one of the keys to lasting survival without injuring yourself. Over time, a risk of injury sets in when there is an imbalance between the superficial muscles and the deep muscles of the abdominal strap (and even elsewhere).

If you work these deep muscles fluently, you decrease the risk of imbalance and as we have seen previously, you increase your potential for progression. Cladding is also extremely beneficial for people with back pain . It is therefore useful in both directions, for both prevention and cure.

Which exercises to practice?

It is commonly accepted that there are two families of core training that will make the abdominal strap work differently: static core and dynamic core. Rather than giving you 150 exercises, I will give you one or two for each family that you can improve on.

Static sheathing

Regarding the first family, the static cladding, you have inevitably heard of it. The plank (sheathing on the elbows), that old college punishment, is a prime example. The plank is a simple but very effective exercise. 4 sets to do, from 30 seconds to 1min30 depending on the level with a 30-second break between 2 sets, at the end of each workout. Regardless of the training, it is compulsory.

When the 4 x 1min30 becomes too simple, we add ballast on the back, and we start again.

With the ballast, you will be able to progress in an eternal way by keeping this format 4 x 30 sec / 1min30 with 30 seconds of pause. This additional load will allow you to transfer the sheathing to your discipline, to your sport (weight training or other), or your performance will improve little by little. An interesting variant of the elbow sheathing is its opposite, the back sheathing, on the elbows or outstretched arms.

The back sheathing is particularly beneficial since it will allow you to change the axis in which the shoulders work, often weaker in the rear position. It will help strengthen joint stability and shoulder strength, in addition to the back and the abdominal strap.

Dynamic sheathing

For the dynamic sheathing, we will also stay on the ground but this time taking a abs wheel . The interest of dynamic sheathing is to introduce much more instability into the movement, which makes it more difficult in this direction. We will therefore place ourselves with the abs wheel on the ground. 1 st level: on the knees and second level: on the feet.

4 sets of 5 to 25 reps with 30 seconds of rest should give you a good margin of improvement. Roulette is very interesting because it allows you to work with great instability at the end of the movement, which means that muscle recruitment is maximum. This kind of roulette does the job very well:
Be careful not to round the lower back during the exercise, the search for amplitude must be progressive. Keep the bust straight during the phase close to the ground, thanks to a maximum contraction of the abs. You can even do this exercise without investing in a caster, doing it with a dumbbell if the handles on each side are large enough. But roulette is still much more practical.

Now no more excuses, core at the end of your session! I hope this article has helped you understand the great role of core strength training in bodybuilding, and in all sports.

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