I'm still on the side of either extra core or direct ab work. Why? I seriously disagree with Rippetoe. I think the stabilizing, with the weights I use, is not enough. Plus, I bet you will get your squat and deadlift to go up even faster if you do mid-body work. I'm almost sure that when you build squat to your 1RM and to failure, it's your core that makes you fail, not your legs.
Dave Tate had an excellent story in the Vault. Atleast with me it's my lower back and abs that crash when the weight gets too heavy.
Plus, core work is never a waste of time. Even Rippetoe admits that ab work is not bad for you. He implies that sit-ups may be bad for you, and still recommends a variation of sit-ups in the end of the article. Ab work has had a change recently, and almost no-one here recommends crunches or sit-ups anymore. This core training stuff is what the talk is about everywhere. And I can't say it's garbage. It may not be the answer to everything, and you will survive and be good without it also (!!).
Dave Tate wrote:
It was at the IPA Worlds (a.k.a. the York Barbell Hall of Fame), my first meet after a ninemonth
hiatus. I took some time off to heal up, regroup, and push my bodyweight up higher.
I was looking forward to this meet because my training was going very well and things
seemed to be going my way. My warm-up for the squat attempts felt great, fast and very
explosive. I was definitely getting jacked up about the meet.
Finally, over the loudspeaker came the words I’d waited nine months to hear, “Load the
bar to 860 pounds for Dave Tate.” It was a weight I’d squatted several times before, and it
was to be my opening attempt. Full of rage, I began chalking my hands.
This is the moment with every big lift that I “detach” from myself, and go on autopilot.
Rarely do I remember anything from the time I leave the chalk box until after the lift.
However, this lift I do remember because I couldn’t get it out of the rack.
I remember trying to stand up with the weight, but I couldn’t budge it. It felt welded to the
rack. I tried a few times and still nothing. This pissed me off to no end, so I stepped back
and increased my rage as high as I could, got back under the rack…and nothing.
My helpers stepped in and pulled me from the rack. Needless to say, this was not a good
moment for me. Nine months of training and I couldn’t get my damn opener out of the
"Your legs and upper back can easily squat a grand, but your abs and lower
back can’t squat 860 pounds. Which do you think you’ll squat, 1000 or 860?"
I hated doing reverse hypers and standing ab work. As a matter of fact, I hated all lower back and
ab work, so to be honest, I skipped it most of the time.
So, for the next six months I trained my lower back and abs four days a week. I did this
once at the beginning of every session and at the end of each session. At the Nationals in
November, I squatted 900 pounds for the first time. For the next meet, I increased my torso
training to six days a week, with three days being very heavy and three days being light.
In July, I went back to the IPA Worlds, the same meet I had to pull out of the year before. I
squatted 860 pounds, then 905 pounds, and onto an easy 935 pounds. My torso strength was the
strongest that it had ever been