I was talking with a friend today about 'core' training and how you can use an unstable surface to make them more challenging. However, sometimes they can become too unstable and you can not load the muscles effectively. I prefer to use stable surfaces and gradually increase the stabilizing demands of the exercise, which can easily be done with a series of progressions.
The Hubbard Arm Bar is an extremely challenging 'core' or torso stabilizing exercise. It starts with establishing a neutral spine position and place a stick on your lumbar spine while on your hands and knees (see the first picture).
Next, you move into a push-up position (see second picture).
This position, itself, can be very challenging for beginners. You would progress from this position to a three-point stance by lifting one arm off the ground and touching the opposite elbow (see third picture).
Now you are also challenging the scapular and shoulder stabilizers. Once you can hold this position for more than ten seconds without the stick moving, then you can progress to the final and most challenging position- the two-point stance (see last picture).
This, obviously, is the most challenging. If you can hold this for more than ten seconds without losing the stick, then you have very good 'core' stability. Time to grab a weight with the free hand to make this the ultimate test of 'core' stability!
Dan Hubbard, M.Ed.