When we talk about perfect bodies, most people will point out the importance of famous six-pack. More than looking good, having a strong core is fundamental to increase your strength and control. Here is all you need to know about the windscreen wiper abs exercise, a move that can help you challenge your core rotation.
- The windscreen wiper abs exercise is a challenging core rotation move that will develop strength and control.
- It uses the legs as a lever to create a load through the spine, which the core muscles have to stabilise.
- You must master this exercise slowly before adding speed.
- Lie on your back with arms out to the side at shoulder level. Keep the palms face down for added stability.
- Lift the legs straight up to 90-degrees with feet together. If your hamstring flexibility prevents you from straightening the legs, keep them slightly bent.
- Set the shoulders and press the hands into the floor for stability.
- Begin to lower the legs slowly to one side, aiming to keep the shoulders and spine on the floor (minimal rotation). Most likely, you will only reach about 45-degrees of rotation with the legs.
- As the legs approach the floor, engage the core even more and press the hands and back of shoulders into the floor to decelerate and stabilise the movement. Slowly return to centre and reset the core.
- Repeat on the other side and continua for time or reps.
- The function of the rotational core muscles is to limit excessive spinal rotation – they are not designed to generate large amounts of force. The shoulders, spine, hip, knee and ankle all work in an integrated way to make force through the rotation. But the role of the core muscles is to help ‘check’ excessive rotation to reduce risk of injury. Therefore, any resisted rotational exercises such as the windscreen wiper, tornado, etc., can be useful in developing the ability to control rotation effectively.
- While the windscreen wiper abs exercise is floor-based, it still requires the use of the upper back and shoulders to perform correctly. As the legs drop to one side, the same side shoulder should press into the floor to prevent excessive rotation of the legs – which may increase risk of injury. The goal is not rotational distance, but how quickly and efficiently you can activate the core and shoulder girdle to decelerate and stabilise the movement. When done correctly, you will soon be able to switch sides and continue the movement.
- As you learn to engage the core/shoulder girdle quickly, you can start to increase the speed. This will help to develop the required amounts of power needed for high-intensity exercise and sport.