An Introduction to Core Strength for Rowing – Dynamic Exercises (with Videos)


My previous article gave an introduction to the Static Exercises used to build core strength and stability. Dynamic exercises take core strength to a new level, bringing in movement to strengthen the range of muscle movement and creating imbalance to challenge the athlete to work in the correct position.

Dynamic Core Exercises

Dynamic core exercises are only really useful once a good level of strength has been developed through static exercises. It is important that athletes are well practised at holding the correct position in the static exercises, such as the planks, so they can maintain this with the additional movement. Typically once an athlete can hold a good plank and side plank for 90 seconds they can move on to dynamic exercises.

Dynamic Plank (Front & Side) Exercises

This video demonstrates dynamic core exercises which are based on the front and side plank positions.

When performing dynamic front plank exercises the athlete should aim to keep the body in a straight line from shoulder to ankles. The hips and shoulders should as still as possible and remain parallel to the floor during the movement. Don’t let the unsupported side drop.

With dynamic side plank exercises the hips should remain in the vertical plane (excluding the Arm Threads where they will twist slightly). Imagine being held between two panes of glass.

Dynamic Floor Exercises

The video below gives examples of dynamic core ‘floor’ exercises.

Athletes should try to engage the glutes and hip flexors when doing All Fours Leg Press, Dynamic Supermen and Hip Lifts. For ‘sitting’ exercises (Curls and Twists) ensure good lower back posture, sitting on ‘sit bones’ rather than slumping back onto the buttocks. Note the strong back position in Curl to Catch which comes from ‘rock-over’ of the pelvis, not stretching the back. Leg Wipers should be done keeping the shoulders pressed to the floor. Range of movement may be limited at first; keep the movements smooth and gently push your limits.

With all dynamic core exercises it is more important to work the range of motion maintaining the correct position than to do them quickly. Weight can be added, using ankle or wrist weights, to increase the resistance.

Dynamic Core ’20’ Session

This session consists of seven different dynamic core exercises, 20 reps of each. It can be done in about 10 minutes so is perfect after a water or ergo session. Each exercise uses slightly different muscles, so the session be done without rest between exercises. For a longer session just repeat x2.

  • Curl to Catch – sculling position for scullers; alternate sweep sides for sweeps (20 total)
  • Hip Lifts (20 each side)
  • Dynamic Plank (knee to elbow) (20 each side)
  • Dynamic Supermen (20 each side)
  • Dynamic Side Plank (hip lifts) (20 each side)
  • Wipers (20 total)
  • Dorsals (20 total)

Video demonstration:

After developing trunk strength through Static Core Exercises, include Dynamic Core in your training programme to improve core strength through the full range of movement.

Let us know how you get on, or if you have any favourite dynamic core exercises, by using the comments section.

Related articles

  • An Introduction to Core Strength for Rowing – Static Exercises
  • Be Your Own Support Team – 2: Flexibility
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