T Nation

Get to the Core of the Matter

Alright, a few years ago I saw a guy in the gym doing dumbbell side bends. He was the first guy I had seen doing them in a long time. Around that time I injured my back in a meet. Luckily I was able to heal fast, but it made me think.
I also study taichi. Practioners believe the center of the body to be at a point just below the navel, tantien. We believe the center of the body indeed all strength to be here.

So when I began healing I developed a rehab program. It helped not only the back, but the training hit the core of the body. I began a search for exercises to hit the trunk of the body, and took my mind back to the 1960’s when I started in the sport. Something cool happened.

I got stronger and my squat and deadlift are getting better again. You cannot overtrain the core, like calves, forearms, and abs. The core heals quickly. When getting ready for a meet I hit the gym 5 to 6 times per week. I do not lift each time, 2 or 3 of these workouts are cardio and trunk work.

Also I hit the trunk on squat and deadlift days. There are more exercises for the trunk of the body, than excuses you can give your wife for not putting wash in the hamper.
The Westside guys practice it, and it does you a lot of good. Hey even in everyday life, it is great.

I always remember a bodybuilder I knew many many moons ago. He was huge, arms, chest, quads. However when he went to the old WWF to try out, they rejected him. His lower back was deemed dangerously weak. He also had groin problems.
Look I am getting stronger even at 55 so no excuses maggots.

Getting the trunk in shape will help powerlifters, Olympic lifters, bodybuilders, strongmen, all athletes. I remember 2 season ago when several baseball players were out for a long time with pulled and strained obliques. Hello mental giants, obliques are a part of the trunk.

So guys and gals, they always talk about a strong foundation. The foundation starts with a good core.
So stay strong, and remember growing old is not for sissies.

Hey, good advice.

What type of exercises are you typically doing to train your core? What in your mind are the best ones?


Rotational movements were popular among physical culturalists at the beginning of 20th century, I think.

Exercises we do for the core include;
Pull thrus with either cable or kettle bells.
back raises on the incline setup.
Again using the incline deal with do a tri set of side raises for each side, then regular.
Dumbbell and cable side bends.
Several exercises using the Allen Core Wheel, check it out at www.allencorewheel.com.

Bridges between benches each side then face down and putting chains on the waist to strengthen.
Several kinds of crunches.
Leg Raises.
Reverse Hypers
Vertical crunches done with the big rubber bands hanging from top of Smith machine.
So as you can see there are lots to choose from.