T Nation

Core Training 2007

I know this probaly sounds like a broken record, but I was curious what you guys consider useful and useless as far as core conditioning is concerned.

I personally use Paul Cheks(Austrailan Research) hollowing/TVA activation techniques and exercises(floor based and swiss ball) for the awareness and learning how to activate perhaps dormant or very weak TVA say after injury, pregnancy or years of lazyness.

I go with McGills reccomendations for bracing when doing heavy lifts in squats, deadlifts, overhead pressing, etc.

I go with Alwyn Cosgroves reccomendations for drawing in on rotational movements as this increases internal oblique activation.

Exercises I consider useful:
Reverse Crunches with weight
Wood Chops and chop.press’
Cable pushing and pulling variations
Various standing and seated cable crunch varaitions
Swiss Ball Core Exercises
Side Planks and Bird Dogs/Horse Stances
Rev Hypers/Back Ext
Swiss Ball Weighted Crunches(Full ROM)

I stick to weighted sit-ups, hanging leg raises (performed correctly!), windmills, plank variations, plate-loaded squats, and cable push-pulls.

Alternating dumbbell shoulder presses. Use a wide stance and lean away from the side you’re pressing (think David Barr’s avatar). Great for the core AND your shoulders too.

Depends on what the goal of the training is really. For the lay person with little strength training ambition I like activation drills, planks, pillar bridges etc etc

For athletes (depending on the sport) some rotational exercises are good - I particularly like band variations of woodchops etc. I also use gymnastic drills, abdmoninal rollouts or fallouts using blast straps. Things of that nature.

For strength based athletes/ trainers zercher exercise, Overhead exercises (squats, walks, firgure of eights etc!) Front squats (front box squats are excellent) good mornings etc.

For anybody reading I have an evil exercise I like to use from time to time. To perform it you need access to fitness bands (jumpstretch etc) and dumbells, plates or a kettlebells work well.

Double a pair mini bands around the collars of an OL bar. Dont anchor the bands to the floor. Attach appropriate load (light kelltbell, dumbell etc) to the band. The load should be light so that the weight dangles and doesnt touch the floor - It should dangle!.

Press the load overhead. O.K now walk! no easy task - shoulder stability core strength balance etc will all be challenged severly. I find it best to perform this exercise barefoot too (extra proprioception!). Be warned though the bands pull you down! it is very taxing so should only be used for short periods of time. You can also perform variations of other exercise with this dangling load for added variation to you training

Yeah, all that stuff is good I think.

I think that most floor based abdominal work is fairly useless after a few weeks of conditioning. I give floor crunches only to the totally weak deconditioned unfit fatties, but after they can do 12 I move them on. I still see people doing all variation of this exercise like opposite elbow, cycling legs, etc. I don’t see the point.

My main queriry at the moment is core ‘activation’ techniques.

I mean, we’ve got hollowing/drawing in, drawing down, pushing out and bracing.

Who does what?

Bracing techniques I precribe during exercise - I encourge people to actively distend the abs if possible. I also encourage the use of kegel type exercises during lifts too.

TVA activations, hollowing techniques I like to use during recuperation and restoration work - especially with foam rollers. I like to lay client on the roller and get them to practise hollowing, contracting, kegels and the like. This is great to end a training session with BTW.

TVA work is good for bodybuilders too! I think that bad press that core work got was pretty unfair. Everything has it place and uses doesn it?