Air Force Tech. Sgt. David Perez, 31, from Fort Meade, Md., is an endurance athlete and MMA fighter. Perez competed for Team USA at the International Triathlon Union's 2012 Long Course Duathlon World Championships in Zofingen,Switzerland, on Sept. 2. (Mike Morones / Staff)
About the author
Bob Thomas is director of the Navy Wellness Center in Pensacola, Fla. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
A strong and stable core means more power, better stability and balance, and a reduced risk of injury — good things whether you're in special operations or a mom trying to keep up with the kids.
Rotating toward the unsupported side is difficult — you may be surprised at the challenge — so don't rush these exercises. You can use the cable machine at the gym or substitute resistance bands or a medicine ball at home. Perform 10 reps on each side. If you're new to core work, start with both feet on the ground.
Single-leg squat with rotation
This activates the big glute muscles and the obliques, which help with power. Kick it up a notch by replacing the bench with a stability ball.
• Put your back foot on a bench and step far enough forward that when you squat, your forward knee does not pass your toes.
• Hold a 6- to 8-pound medicine ball at chest level.
• As you execute the squat, rotate your trunk to either side.
• Remember to rise straight up out of the squat so you involve the glute muscles.
Single-leg chop with rotation
This can be done with bands, a cable machine or a medicine ball.
• Set the cable or band handle at a height that is above your head and allows you to extend your arms at a 45-degree angle.
• Stand perpendicular to the handle. You'll have to twist your torso to get into the starting position to grab the handle.
• Raise the leg on the same side as your hands are reaching.
• Keeping your arms extended, pull the handles down and across your body, ending at the opposite hip. The twist will come naturally.
Single-leg arm row with rotation
You'll notice the effect of this one in the glute muscle opposite the twist.
• Set the cable or band handle at a low position (about knee height).
• Face the weight stack, flex forward at the hips, soften the knees and raise the foot on the same side as your hand that has grabbed the handle.
• As you pull the handle back toward your chest, keep your arm close to your rib cage and twist your trunk to the same side you are pulling with.
Single-leg squat jump with medicine ball throw (not shown)
No rotation required. If the throw is off-center, put both feet on the ground before moving to catch the ball.
• Hold a medium-weight medicine ball at your chest, take an athletic stance and raise one leg.
• Do a ¼-squat and explode as high as you can into the air.
• As you explode, throw the ball as high as you can directly above you.
• Concentrate on the landing, then catch the ball.