“Working the Core”

June 12, 2011

Wow, I really just used that term. It is one term that I have always hated. I hated crunches and sit-ups. I hated planks and any kind of derivative of it you could think of! When I walked into the weight room, I had one thing in mind: lift as much weight as many times as I could. That’s all that was important. Nothing else. “Core” was worthless and a waste of time. It prevented me from lifting heavy things and was more of a punishment than a workout anyway.

So I still like to lift heavy things and all of that, but my focus as changed. I finally realized that the number of pounds I can lift when I do a squat means very little in the big picture. It’s something I preach with my athletes and have for some time, but it is finally clicking for me. Back in the beginning of May, I was able to squat 325 pounds one time. Since I weigh about 215 pounds, I’d say that’s pretty impressive especially considering I took a period of about 6 weeks off from back squatting in the months previous to doing that one rep. And considering I broke my previous personal record by 15 pounds. But realistically how has that 325-pound squat helped me in my day to day living? Now, what’s this got to do with the “core?”

I am finally starting to realize that the abdominals on the front and the back extensors in the back (collectively known as the “core”) are vital for everyday living and also crucial in the weight room. Now don’t think for a second that I am suggesting you go start doing 500 crunches everyday nor am I suggesting you do 500 back extensions. For starters, you don’t have that kind of time and neither do I. Secondly, that would be massive overkill for any movement. And lastly, the research is showing just how painful and potentially harmful doing those exercises really are. Besides, tell me what in life requires you to flex your lumbar spine? Pause while you think about it… So why are we doing it again?

Planks and the many derivatives related are an excellent replacement for the crunch. These exercises do a much better job of working your body in a functional manner because their job is that of stability and not so much movement.

I will explore this topic more in the coming days. I’ve made some discoveries as I’ve finally opened my eyes to this area of the body that for so long has been neglected. In the meantime,start thinking about why you do the exercises you do—do they have a reason?


2 Responses to ““Working the Core””

  1. TNT Man Says:

    Well Said.

  2. […] six was an opinion piece that I wrote about the “core training” as much as I hate that particular name. It has slowly crept into my language whether I like it […]

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