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Core workout/exercises

Posted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 7:17 am
by nice_guy80
Hello, love this forum

anyway, looking for some real CORE exercises. Preferrably using the minimum of equipment - weight plates, medicine balls

some tutorial diagrams along with them would be great also - just to explain the movements

I know all about doing crunches etc

I just really want to build the core strength before the new season comes round in spring

thanks in advance

Posted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 7:40 am
by hoosegow

Posted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 7:41 am
by nice_guy80
i do that. along with deadlifts and a host of other stuff

the main area i feel i neglect is the core strength.

Posted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:39 am
by TimD
Just about any of the 1 arm lifts will wor your core/trunk area hard, just due to that fact that one arm works puts you askew. 1 arm snatches, 1 arm overhead squats, 1 armed clean and jerks. For specificity though, 2 exercises really shine through. Windmills and Turkish Get Ups I'm not going to try to describe them for you. Simply go to youtube, and do a search for them. Plenty of video's out there. You might have to look under kettlebell windmills, but they are out there.

Posted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:33 am
by hoosegow
Not to disagree with Tim, but in my opinion if you squat and dead you are working your core enough. I think "working the core" is a piggy back myth to the spot reduction myth. At best it is on par with just working the arms. You just don't need to do any core or arm work if you have a decent weight lifting regime. Developing a good core will come automatically if you are squatting with any weight.

Posted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:49 am
by TimD
Hoosegow, we don't disagree at all. I believe no direct work would be necessary if squatting and deadlifting, or especially if doing the O lifts. However, I brought up the TGU and Windmill as I figured that was what the OP was looking for; something other than crunches for the trunk area.

Posted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 11:22 am
by KPj
I used to be of that opinion, but not any more. Don't get me wrong, I think traditional sit ups and crunches are a waste of time. But squats and DL's won't cover everything. Well, they kind of will, for some people, to a point.

Bear in mind the "core" technically runs from about below the chest to the knees so if all you do for that is squats and DL's then erm.. fair enough. But i'm guessing were talking about the abs and obliques? Anyway...

An example is my training partner. He was of the same opinion, too. But the main differences in our training is that I done a lot of single leg and 'core' stuff.

Anyway, he got up to a 350lbs box squat - that's a real box squat, slightly below parallel, with a pause. It would of carried over to close to or more than a 400lbs squat. He also pulled an easy 420lbs DL - easy being, it took about 3 seconds from floor to lock out. Shortly after, he started getting pain in his side, and he's been out for the last 3-4 weeks, and counting. It looks like he's screwed his QL. It's something for a specialist, so i've only messed around with it a little, but one thing I done was get him to do some bar rollouts. He fell on his face on the third rep, and the first 2, form wise, were questionable. For someone who can pull that much, failing that easily on bar rollouts is pathetic, frankly. A common cause of overactive QL's is weak abs and obliques.

When checking things on a side to side basis (i.e. woodchops, side bridges), there are clear discrepancies. Now, this is pretty obvious. He doesn't train things unilaterally at all, so why would he ba any good at it? Combined with that, everyone is more dominant on one side, naturally. And da to day tasks typically have a dominance of one side. So, basically, because he' not working his 'core' unilaterally, at the very least, both sides of his body aren't working together as well as they COULD.

His progress up to this point was actually baffling, btw. I couldn't believe my eyes (and started to question all the 'extra' stuff I was doing as a result). He started training about 18 months ago, with back pain that had bothered him for 2-3 years before that. He also picked up a bizarre but painful forearm/hand/wrist injury along the way.

I think 'working the core' needs to be re-thought. It actually already has, by many well known coaches (a lot of whom get refenced on here A LOT). The core should be trained to work efficiently. Not trained purely with the aim of getting a 6-pack. As we know, if that's your goal, then check the diet thread. The core has specific functions, which not only keep you healthy, but make you move efficiently. Efficiency is the key. If you want to just 'get by', then just stick to squats and DL's. If you want to be efficient, then you'll need more. And if you're unlucky, if you want to stay healthy, you'll need more too.

My god that was a much longer post that I thought it would be.... Ah well..


Posted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 11:55 am
by KPj
Anyway, for the OP, here's an article with some interesting movements on it. Pete posted this a while ago, actually. A lot more challenging that it looks (the exercises, not posting a link...well, for most anyway)

No More Situps and Crunches

Other than that, I might try and dig out some more movements, but off the top of my head, favourites of mine are.... (you could 'youtube them').

-OH Squats
-OH walking lunges
-If you're brave enough, try it as Tim suggested holding one DB overhead.
-Planks (and harder variations). I love the "plank with one arm DB cable row variation"
-Pallof Press or hold
-Bar Rollouts
-Full contact Twists (i love Twists. You can be nice and aggressive with them).
-wood chop variations

Med ball work is a hell of a lot of fun, and surprisingly difficult. But something for another post (it's kinda hard to med ball work in a commercial gym at peak times anyway).

Most of these simply train the varying functions of the core - Stability, endurance, resisting rotation, creating rotation, and just generally throwing it all together via the bigger movements... You need to think about progressing with them. If something is too easy, don't slave away at it for 20 minutes. Move on. Planks are great if you're crap at them, but if you're doing them for 2minutes, easily (and who can be bothered doing that), then they're too easy. Make them harder or do something else that's more difficult in general.


Posted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 1:50 pm
by Peter Rouse
To say that you get enough core training from squats and deadlifts is right up there with doing situps and crunches to train the core.... it ludicrous.

What is the function of the core? To prevent movement not create movement. Here's an example, rotational exercises for the core that take the lumbar spine through full range of movement, well for starters full range of movement for the lumbar spine is only 13 degress and 5 of that comes from L5-S1, so that does not leave much movement.

Then there is spinal flexion such as the crunch or situp. First think about it logically we are bipeds therefore from the standing upright position to produce flexion how much involvement of the rectus abdominis do you think is needed. Also think about a movement in life that requires flexion under load... there is none except maybe a situp competition.

One of the primary functions of the rectus abdominis it eccentric deceleration of the spine into extension - therefore preventing extension of the spine, not create flexion.

So how to train the core - with exercises that forces the core to prevent movement - particullay through the lumbar region.

There are a few other factors limiting ones ability to achieve this, one being limited mobility in the hips and thoracic spine. These are areas that also need to be addressed.

Posted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:34 pm
by Stephen Johnson
Peter Rouse wrote:So how to train the core - with exercises that forces the core to prevent movement - particullay through the lumbar region.
Could you name a couple of those exercises? That's what the OP was asking for.

Posted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 5:00 pm
by Peter Rouse
Stephen Johnson wrote:
Peter Rouse wrote:So how to train the core - with exercises that forces the core to prevent movement - particullay through the lumbar region.
Could you name a couple of those exercises? That's what the OP was asking for. ... annel_page ... annel_page ... annel_page

Just a few examples

This first one if for the movement I mentioned - eccentric deceleration of the trunk into extension. [/url]

Posted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 7:26 pm
by hoosegow
I think I am going to like Rouse's style though he confuses me. I haven't had one of my opinions called ludicrous in a long time.

Help me out again Rouse (instead of Peter cuz he is the resident mma guy here no disrespect intended). Are you agreeing or disagreeing with what I am saying? You say the core's primary function is to prevent movement, I think. You then state that the best way to work the "core" is with exercises that focus the core to prevent movement. If that is indeed the case, then what better way to work the "core" than to stack 500 pounds on your shoulders and squat, or, as Tim suggested, the O lifts?

If the whole goal is the six pack abs thing, then I think KPj has it right when he suggests diet. I remember reading somewhere (once again no reference to a citation to back up this claim) that professional body builders don't do much ab work.

If I completely missed the point, I apologize and help me out. I also am thankful the only anatomy I know was mentioned - cervical, thorasic, lumbar, saccral and caudal.

Posted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:13 pm
by Peter Rouse
I'm just going to dinner but just something for you to think about till I get back.

What plane of movement is loaded in the above mentioned lifts? So what about frontal and transverse?

Also do you think someone walking into the gym has the core function to stabilize these lifts - so what happens? They compensate - other muscles take of the function... till they can't anymore.

I almost 100% guarantee that if I was to look at your form that this would be the case... no disrespect as I have seen it in very successful professional and Olympic athletes.... they can only get away with it for so long... also it limits their true potential.

Rouse is fine.... I've been call much worse.

Posted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:31 pm
by Stephen Johnson
hoosegow wrote: I think "working the core" is a piggy back myth to the spot reduction myth.
I wouldn't go that far, but "working the oore" in my gym means exercises on stability balls and unstable platforms. How doing those things helps someone in activities outside the gym remains a mystery to me.
nice_guy80 wrote:I just really want to build the core strength before the new season comes round in spring
What sport /activity are you training for? What makes you think that your core isn't adequate for that activity now? What performance improvements are you looking to make in your activity, or what deficiencies are you trying to correct?

What I'm trying to determine is whether someone has sold you on the idea of putting core training above sport/activity specific training.

Posted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:05 pm
by Jungledoc
hoosegow wrote:I haven't had one of my opinions called ludicrous in a long time.
They're all ludicrous, hoose. It's just that none of us are brave enough to say it, since you're bigger and stronger than us!