Here are 3 very different core exercises that would be considered ''anti-extension'' in nature. While all three exercises involve different movements, because I am performing them properly, they are strengthening my anterior core and are improving my ability to resist extension. This much needed stability around my pelvic and spine will allow me to generate a lot of power with my upper and lower body, will have aesthetic benefits, and will keep me healthy. It is very rare to see any of these exercises being performed correctly.
With all three exercises, the key theme is that I am focusing on preventing my ribcage from flaring, am preventing my spine from hyperextending, and am maintaining proper alignment the entire time. I am achieving this by engaging my glutes, bracing my core, and gently tucking my ribcage towards the hips.
1) Ab wheel rollouts (from the feet)
When most people perform this exercise, they allow their back to hyperextend big-time, and allow their body to go into a severe anterior pelvic tilt. Also, many people dominate this exercise with their upper body, largely because their core muscles are not strong enough to perform the movement effectively. For this exercise to be performed safely and and correctly, the anterior core and glutes must be working in unison.
2) Weighted modified flexion -
This is one of the few core mobility exercises that I do, as I like to spend the bulk of my time focusing on core stability. This is as close to a crunch or sit-up as I will EVER do. When I engage in flexion, the only part of my spine that is flexing is my thoracic spine. The lumbar spine remains on the floor the entire time. When I'm bringing the kettlebell behind me and am lowering myself to the floor, I am really focusing on using my glutes and anterior core as this will keep my ribcage from flaring, and will prevent my spine from hyperextending. Many people allow their back to hyperextend when they are lowering the weight behind them, and move/control their body by overengaging their hip flexors, or muscles in their lower back.
3) Hanging leg raises (I added an 8 lb ball for extra resistance)-
This exercise is extremely effective...if done correctly. Most people do not do this exercise properly as they allow their legs and hip flexors to do all of the work. Also, it is common to observe the body of many swinging all over the place like a limp noodle. This is due to the lack of use of the anterior core and glutes. Not using the glutes and anterior core will render this exercise ineffective, and detrimental.
Important to note, while the hip flexors will be doing a little bit of the work, and this is totally OK, the key is to use the glutes and anterior core to stabilize the pelvis and torso and keep them level, and to keep the legs relaxed. This will prevent the spine from hyperextending, and the body from swinging.
This exercise is very advanced, yet many people do not have the requisite levels of strength or stability to perform it properly. They are essentially reinforcing atrocious alignment, are hyperextending their spine, and are giving their hip flexors the workout of a lifetime, which will reinforce an anterior pelvic tilt.
Many people do these exercises long before they are ready. They should only be performed after a desirable level of core stability has been achieved.