A Powerful Pair of Rip Trainer Drills
Ten Minutes to Better Core Strength, Balance, and Posture
A rip trainer is a four foot long bar with resistance tubing attached to one end. The tubing can be anchored at different levels, and the rip trainer used to provide three-dimensional resistance for many different movement patterns. Over the years, I have found the pairing of two rip trainer drills produces excellent results with nearly all fitness clients. Many clients find the carry over to real life activity is so pronounced that they have purchased rip trainers for home use. Read the remainder of this article and watch a video demonstration of each of the drills.
If you are new to the rip trainer, I suggest you get some instruction on proper performance of each of the drills. The rip trainer has different resistance levels and most clients will do well with the medium resistance tubing. Start slowly with each of these drills and focus on moving more gracefully before increasing the resistance. For older clients with a smaller training volume “gas tank,” placing these drills in the beginning of your routine will assure you cover the essential components of a comprehensive training session.
Rip Trainer Split Stance Diagonal Lifts
Anatomically, our torso muscles are laid out in a spiral and diagonal fashion. Layers of fascia link one muscle to another and these interconnected bands of muscle and fascia wind around the body. The term for this anatomical layout is the Serape system. A serape is a blanket type garment worn around the neck, across the front of the body, and tucked into a belt. It is a useful term as it helps us remember the function of the team of muscles that link our hips to our shoulders. The rip trainer split stance diagonal lift creates a spiral / diagonal activation of the serape system of muscles that improves core strength and spinal muscle endurance.
If you have never used a Rip Trainer before, please watch the video that accompanies this article and get some input from a trainer on your performance. The description of this exercise sounds difficult, but once you learn the drill, it is easy to perform. Anchor the Rip Trainer at the floor level. The tubing will be at your right side. Assume a half kneeling posture with the right knee down. The tubing anchor point is on the right side and slightly behind your body. Hold the bar with a palms down grip. Start with a little tension on the bar on the lower right side of the body. Push down into the ground with the left foot by contracting the glutes and hamstrings. Brace the abdominal muscles and hold a tight and tall posture. Lift the bar diagonally up and across the body. The hands will finish overhead and you will be looking over the right arm. Perform ten repetitions on the right side and repeat on the left. It is not uncommon for one side to be weaker than the other. Train away that deficit with an extra set on your weaker side.
Rip Trainer Anterior Step and Press
If your goal is to move better and remain free of injury, then 90% of your exercise activity should be performed in standing. Developing better kinesthetic awareness, strength, and coordination in a standing posture are the components of training that prevent a fall. I call this drill a fall safety exercise. The rip trainer anterior step and press teaches the client how to get the foot and hands up and out in front in the event a forward fall.
Attach the rip trainer at chest level and face away from the anchor point. Hold the bar with the palms down and the grip even on the bar. The resistance tubing should be set on the right side. Move forward so a slight resistance is placed on the tubing. Assume an athletic stance; abdominal muscles braced, left foot back, and right foot forward. Step forward with the right leg and simultaneously push the arms out against the resistance from the tubing. Drive through the left leg and connect the left hip, through a stable torso to the right shoulder. Keep the bar level and prevent the torso from rotating. Step backward with the right leg, reload, and perform another repetition. Start with five repetitions with the left leg, reverse the rip trainer, and perform the next set of five on the right leg.
Two sets of each of these drills takes less than ten minutes. Fitness clients have often commented how they feel these drills have improved their performance outside of the gym. They have better balance, coordination, and more confidence. Give this simple routine a try and let me know how things progress.
View video: here.
Mike O’Hara PT, OCS, CSCS