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It’s hard to deny the aesthetic appeal of a good six-pack, but building a strong core is about more than countless crunches and the visual progress of rippling abs. That’s where rotational moves come into play.
“You move in all directions, so you have to train your core to fire in all directions,” says Amoila Cesar, a trainer who’s whipped NBA players into shape. You can do the same for yourself with his intense new BeachBody program, 6 Weeks of the Work. That means performing rotational moves that work your abs,
“In order to maximize athletic ability, you have to be able to connect those components together into an integrated system,” he adds.
Cesar mentions that you can’t play basketball without enlisting the hip, glute, and oblique muscles, because they’re your base of speed and power.
“The more effectively you can transfer power, the better you’ll be able to move,” he says. “This also allows you to have a better center of gravity and protect the thoracic muscles and spine.”
To target those all-important muscles, you’ve got to think (and train) in all three planes of motion. Pushups, pullups, biceps curls, and crunches occur in the forward-and-back sagittal plane. Others, like side lunges or chest flies, occur in the side-to-side frontal plane.
According to Cesar, when you start training your body in the rotational, or transverse, plane, you improve balance and proprioception—knowing where you are in space.
“This is especially important for athletes in contact sports, so they can rotate and pivot to move properly and land safely,” he says.
But the tenants apply to everyone, not just athletes. The benefits of training in all three planes translate directly to daily life, from picking up groceries to reaching across your body for your seatbelt.
“We rotate constantly throughout the day,” says Cesar. “If you’re not training your body for that, you’ll lose strength and stability and be more prone to injuries.”
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