The ability to get long, and stay stable in that position, is an undervalued skill in athletic development. However, athletes will often find themselves in this position, whether diving for a ball, or getting up for a block. Here are three great moves to work on your stability in an outstretched position:
1. Body Saw: The body saw is an excellent movement to work on your ability to resist hyper extension of the back. Assume a plank position, with your feet on something movable. Options include a slide board, trx, val-slides, or a towel placed on top of a slippery surface such as wood, a mat, or turf. Once you have assumed the plank position, slightly push forward and back from the shoulders in a “sawing fashion”. Remember to squeeze your but and keep the stomach braced.
2. Single Leg Deadlift: This is a great single leg movement that will recruit the often neglected hip stabilizers. It is also a great way to strengthen the posterior chain. One way to perform this exercise is to hold a dumbbell or kettle-bell in the opposite hand of the leg that is on the ground. Make sure to start the movement by pushing the hips (back), maintaining a neutral spine (no rotation), and keeping the leg that is on the floor slightly bent. When doing this do not allow the knee to collapse in, always push the knee outward.
3. Split Stance Overhead Cable Extension: This exercise is also a fantastic drill in anti-extension. You will need a rope, and a cable column. With your back facing the column, have one hand on each end of the rope. The rope will be behind the neck, with your hands right in front of the shoulders. The lower body will be in a split squat position, with your back knee about 4-6 inches off the ground. Press the rope up and slightly out in front of you. Do not fully extend the elbows, press the rope just shy of lockout. Keep your shoulder blades locked back and down, and the stomach braced (rib cage down). Remember to engage the back leg glute to remain stable through the movement.