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Matthieu Hertilus
04-18-2009, 04:52 PM
I believe I have decent PL and OL numbers but I feel as though they could be so much better (especially my squat) if my core was stronger. With that in mind, I have a few questions that I hope everyone can chime in on.

1. What are the best exercises for building core strength?
2. Is it a matter of core strength or endurance?
3. If it is the former, is the best approach to treat the core like all other muscles that need strengthening (i.e. high intensity, low to mid volume)
4. How often should core exercises be implemented?

Brian DeGennaro
04-18-2009, 04:56 PM
To just list things off:

1 - Planks, back bridges, L-sits, HLRs, and GHD situps, in that order.
2 - a lil bit of both but mostly strength. Higher strength levels automatically mean a higher potential for endurance.
3 - Yes, treat it like strength exercises.
4 - Every session.

Jon Brody
04-18-2009, 05:33 PM
Russian twists, especially for rotational power, are pretty sweet.....HLRs, russian twists, l-sit, and plank I think are my fave mix of core-specific exercises.

Actually.....simulating kimuras while holding a phyisio ball between my legs like I'm playing guard, and also performing triangles going side-to-side have felt really good when I recently starting doing them....

Troy Archie
04-18-2009, 06:57 PM
Evil wheel is great. Kneeling, kneeling decline, standing incline...

Patrick Donnelly
04-18-2009, 08:26 PM
Barbell windmills, windshield wipers, heavy-ass planks.

Don't forget slosh pipes too.

Allen Yeh
04-18-2009, 08:42 PM
I usually group in my lower back with "core" training.

Things I choose from:
1. back extensions
2. reverse hypers
3. good mornings
4. good mornings with a band

Usually in the higher rep range.

Mike ODonnell
04-19-2009, 07:26 AM
Barbell TGUs.....wear a hockey helmet just in case...

Alan O'Donnell
04-19-2009, 08:36 AM
Planks, back bridges, L-sits, HLRs, and GHD situps, in that order.


Brian, is that just in order of difficulty?

Personally I do a lot of l-sits on my fists (don't have the pike flexibility to do them on my palms), overhead squats, heavy KB swings, and I'm working on my tucked front levers. I feel like if you can do a front lever your core should be pretty much good to go.

Brian DeGennaro
04-19-2009, 09:18 AM
That's just order of effectiveness, in my opinion.

Dave Van Skike
04-19-2009, 09:22 AM
seems like "core" strenght is about as wide ranging and variable as grip. there are about a jillion ways and theories.... if you're looking for something that increases your total, you're going to have expirement a little. i don't think you can beat front squats, oh squats and pressouts for an overhead lifter. if you have access, i bet an upside down safety squat bar would work well too becuase it can approximate the classic narrow OL back squat position but the leverage is even worse than a front squat...

i do round back lifting of many flavors, standing ab work , medium heavy carries wihtout a belt, ab wheel and waiters walks....these approximate the discomfort of several events and movements...mostly i don't think about it though and that works really well.

John Alston
04-19-2009, 10:04 AM
Hanging knee - leg raises, knees to elbows, whatever you call them. I also find these make the lower back feel happy after it's been under pressue from squatting, etc.

Steven Low
04-19-2009, 12:40 PM
seems like "core" strenght is about as wide ranging and variable as grip. there are about a jillion ways and theories.... if you're looking for something that increases your total, you're going to have expirement a little. i don't think you can beat front squats, oh squats and pressouts for an overhead lifter. if you have access, i bet an upside down safety squat bar would work well too becuase it can approximate the classic narrow OL back squat position but the leverage is even worse than a front squat...

i do round back lifting of many flavors, standing ab work , medium heavy carries wihtout a belt, ab wheel and waiters walks....these approximate the discomfort of several events and movements...mostly i don't think about it though and that works really well.
This.

Go with the compounds especially OHS.


And why is it that you think your core needs work?

Derek Weaver
04-19-2009, 02:40 PM
seems like "core" strenght is about as wide ranging and variable as grip. there are about a jillion ways and theories.... if you're looking for something that increases your total, you're going to have expirement a little. i don't think you can beat front squats, oh squats and pressouts for an overhead lifter. if you have access, i bet an upside down safety squat bar would work well too becuase it can approximate the classic narrow OL back squat position but the leverage is even worse than a front squat...

i do round back lifting of many flavors, standing ab work , medium heavy carries wihtout a belt, ab wheel and waiters walks....these approximate the discomfort of several events and movements...mostly i don't think about it though and that works really well.

I like your style Dave.

I have just have a tendency to pay attention to other lifts and adjust. I was seriously lagging going overhead and felt it was more a stability issue through the midline. I added in some targeted ab work, bridges and ab wheels and... voila. A push press PR after a couple weeks.

Dave Van Skike
04-19-2009, 03:11 PM
what derek describes is well taken (not just becuase he's a complimentary bloke figure out if and where there's a weakness and address it

Troy Archie
04-19-2009, 03:17 PM
heavy-ass planks.

You're talking with a plate on your back, right?

Garrett Smith
04-19-2009, 03:30 PM
A great thing about training front & back lever progressions is that they are training a "free plank" while also connecting the core to the arms.

Another thing I like about them is that they are "core" work that I don't really consider ab or low back work...I also seem to recover from this type of training better than when I used to do "abs". YMMV

Chris H Laing
04-19-2009, 04:06 PM
I agree with Dr. G. FL and BL are great core exercises, but only after you can get farther than the adv tuck versions. One leg out, straddle, and full can be pretty taxing on the core.


4 - Every session.

Just a small aside about this, but wouldnt training core every session, after doing things like heavy front squats, presses, and front levers (or any exercises that tax the core) be a little overkill on the mid section.

Wouldnt it be bard to recover for the next session?

Patrick Donnelly
04-19-2009, 04:42 PM
You're talking with a plate on your back, right?
Yes, but more than one plate if you can handle it. I tried a 40kg plank sometime last week goofing around and got it for 49 seconds (on par with what another lifter was doing that day) and I know of one local lifter who likes to go as heavy as 100kg, but only for 10-15 seconds.

Brian DeGennaro
04-19-2009, 05:01 PM
When I mean train core every day, I mean take 2 exercise and perform 2-3 sets of each, nothing more.

Gant Grimes
04-20-2009, 09:57 AM
Get a chainsaw. Cut down large trees (get permission first). Cut the log up into smaller parts. Carry them--Zercher, shoulder, overhead, etc.--and throw them into a truck or onto a trailer.

Duke McCall
04-20-2009, 11:03 AM
QUOTE]Get a chainsaw. Cut down large trees (get permission first). Cut the log up into smaller parts. Carry them--Zercher, shoulder, overhead, etc.--and throw them into a truck or onto a trailer.[/QUOTE]

My favorite core work, although I also add in unloading the trailer and, in the winter, hauling the wood inside to build a fire.

Grissim Connery
04-20-2009, 01:36 PM
i like FL and BL as well.

if you have coach sommer's book, he has a nice section on straight body work. one of these exercises is called simply "body levers." basically you get into a candlestick pose or plough pose but with your feet pointing straight up into the air. you should grab a squat rack or a pole or something with your hands up behind your head. now lower your legs to the floor in a negative fashion, keep the straight body position, and raise the back up. i looks like you're descending into a front lever and then pulling back up to inversion. by doing it on the floor, you can take out the arm focus and work on your core control more. you should make it hard enough that you can get about 5. if it's too hard pull your legs in when you ascend, or straddle or whatever. if it's too easy, strap a little weight to your ankles. just maintain the straight body no matter what you pick

obviously you should try a lot of different compound moves to strengthen the core. i just find that if i had to pick one exercise that i knew would make my midsection hurt the next day, this would be it.

Gant Grimes
04-20-2009, 03:11 PM
My favorite core work, although I also add in unloading the trailer and, in the winter, hauling the wood inside to build a fire.

Splitting mesquite to smoke brisket is also an acceptable answer.

Brandon Oto
04-20-2009, 03:26 PM
i like FL and BL as well.

if you have coach sommer's book, he has a nice section on straight body work. one of these exercises is called simply "body levers." basically you get into a candlestick pose or plough pose but with your feet pointing straight up into the air. you should grab a squat rack or a pole or something with your hands up behind your head. now lower your legs to the floor in a negative fashion, keep the straight body position, and raise the back up. i looks like you're descending into a front lever and then pulling back up to inversion. by doing it on the floor, you can take out the arm focus and work on your core control more. you should make it hard enough that you can get about 5. if it's too hard pull your legs in when you ascend, or straddle or whatever. if it's too easy, strap a little weight to your ankles. just maintain the straight body no matter what you pick

obviously you should try a lot of different compound moves to strengthen the core. i just find that if i had to pick one exercise that i knew would make my midsection hurt the next day, this would be it.

AKA dragon flags. You can do these on the end of a bench. Wicked, wicked DOMS are possible from these negatives, so beware.

It always seemed to me that if you could hold a dragon flag at horizontal with only your scapulae supported, you have the core strength for a front lever. (Shoulder strength is another matter.)

Dave Van Skike
04-21-2009, 10:08 AM
made up a new one last night.

KB rows with the KB choked to the floor with quad mini JS bands. try to hold the KB at lockout briefly. minis add about 120 pounds to the top so use momentum. Insane abdominal, serratus and lat tightness will ensue.......

Peter Dell'Orto
04-21-2009, 11:18 AM
made up a new one last night.

KB rows with the KB choked to the floor with quad mini JS bands. try to hold the KB at lockout briefly. minis add about 120 pounds to the top so use momentum. Insane abdominal, serratus and lat tightness will ensue.......

Sounds a lot like KB band curls from Jedd from Diesel Crew in terms of effect.

http://kettlebellresources.blogspot.com/2008/10/video-kettlebell-curl-with-band.html

You should video yours and post it.

Matthieu Hertilus
06-02-2009, 07:33 AM
If you don't mind a little self-promotion. I wrote a new article about core training if anyone is interested.

http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/most_recent/stronger_abs_bigger_lifts

Derek Weaver
06-02-2009, 08:23 PM
That was a good article Matthieu. I like the modified renegade row. I'll have to find a time/way to fit tha tone in.

Allen Yeh
06-03-2009, 04:56 PM
Nice article.

Torsten Hauptmann
06-04-2009, 12:16 PM
i think that for "core" training exist three often overlooked keypoints.


1.
what derek describes is well taken (not just becuase he's a complimentary bloke[)] figure out if and where there's a weakness and address it

i.e. if you feel you need to "learn" how to tighten up your mid section. the instruction for overhead work"take a deep breath and hold it" did not improve my strength it only made me aware that i need to get strength in this area.



2.

obviously you should try a lot of different compound moves to strengthen the core. i just find that if i had to pick one exercise that i knew would make my midsection hurt the next day, this would be it.

that one is often overlooked. as core training is not that easily adjustable, i.e. you can not add weight on a lot of exercises mostly you have to progress to harder versions but it is not that easy as simpy adding weight to a barbell. f.e. FL and BL progressions seem to be linear but extending/straddle the legs a litte bit more/less makes a big difference and this "litte bit" is hard to get.
therefore it is hard to stick precisly to a low to mid volume training thus maintaine progress. that means you can not programm your core routine as easy as your normal strength routine. just going to failure is not right and even that is not that easy on most core strength exercises often you fail for a different reason or you fail that hard that you did not do the exercise at all (not lower but drop through a full FL on a negative). so you need to know that it can make you midsection hurt the next day



3.
do both dynamic (curling) and static exercises (straight body) as they suplement each other.


and here is my top pick (at least) for now:
band resisted ab wheel.
i came across this from the diesel crew core strength book. simply add a band or two to your wheel that it gets pulled away from you. doing so improves the wheel a lot:
the wheel without a band offers a hard static component and a lighter dynamic component which do not balance each other and it is hard to progress to the full roll out because only in the last inches sits the real resistance you are looking for. with a band you can adjust the resistance very precisly. when you roll from your knees you can stay with the normal resistance on the static part and add a short strong band (or take one twice) which will resist only when curling back or you can make the hole rollout harder, i.e. a longer band always under tension. and then you can still adjust the length you roll....



PS: nice article matthieu but regards the TGU: i think it is much more usefull when you do the TGU till the side plank, i.e. when you lift you but before you pull your leg through.
and i prefer rather harder hole-core-exercises maybe one or two on a session than longish core circles

Allen Yeh
06-04-2009, 01:58 PM
If you don't mind a little self-promotion. I wrote a new article about core training if anyone is interested.

http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/most_recent/stronger_abs_bigger_lifts

Never thought to do an iso FS so what load do you typically presecribe as a % of a FS 1RM?

Allen Yeh
06-04-2009, 03:55 PM
If you don't mind a little self-promotion. I wrote a new article about core training if anyone is interested.

http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/most_recent/stronger_abs_bigger_lifts

I worked in the modified renegade row today and whew my sides were burning!