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What is Everyone Doing for Core?

I find, in this context, it does minimal for ab work. The challenge is far more about footspeed at this point.

In that instance, I don’t find bracing to that degree to be a significant challenge for developing core strength. When I focus on core strength, it’s typically so I can handle the loads ABOVE my current ability, so that my core in turn doesn’t become what limits me.

I’m not particularly new to strongman. Been competing in it for over 5 years, and before that was 3 years of powerlifting. In general, I suppose I just like being strong all over. Strength is never a weakness, as the saying goes, haha.

EDIT: I’ve noticed SS doesn’t include ab work. I’ve also noticed Rip, for being a coach, has coached no athletes I’ve ever heard of, haha. He’s a silly man. Entertaining though.


I’ve cut back on ab training too. My core has been to this point a strength. I’ve always been able to knock out 100 sit-ups.

Last year and a half I did 2-5 times a week:
Hanging leg raises
Lying leg raise hip thrust
Paloff press
Russian twist
Oblique crunches
Back hyperextensions
Rev hyper extensions
Waiter walks
Some other stuff I won’t name or recommend…

I’m gonna keep some abs 1-2 times a week in my training and hit it harder if needed.

I’ll keep

Standing banded crunches 25-50 rep sets
Paloff presses-
Planks- (best bang for the buck)
Hanging leg raises (decompression as much as core)
Rev hypers (decompression as much as core)

I may hit the other stuff but this list for now does me fine

I agree that early on I needed more core work to build it up to handle the loads I work with and it limited my early lifts. The loads I work with now are doing the job it seems of maintaining the core lock for progression…just my bro science answer

And I agree I’m usually to gassed and beat up after a heavy squat or dead session to knock out some ab work…

I will admit that I don’t know a whole lot about training for strongman, I only compete in PL so that’s what I focus on and know about. Perhaps since the loads in the yoke walk with any useful training effect are so heavy you just have to do direct ab work because otherwise you would burn out. Are there any strongmen who don’t do direct ab work?

I was trying to find what Josh Bryant said about using yoke walks for training abs, I didn’t find that but on his Instagram he has his client To Haviland doing front yoke walks which he refers to as “a moving plank on steroids”. Seeing as front yokes aren’t normally in strongman comps, what do you think of using that for improving a regular yoke walk?

I’m sure there are, just because it has a big enough following. I don’t know of any very successful ones that avoid it though.

I’ve never done a front yoke walk before. Couldn’t really speak to how effective it would be. Zercher yokes were popular for a while too, since they were featured in a nationals competition, but I haven’t seen much of them since.

I hear of people using heavy front squat holds as an ab exercise, I suppose walking with a weight above your squat max racked in front would have a decent training effect.

Ever since I started squating and deadlifting, I never did any direct core ab work anymore because of what Ed Coan said. Never should have listened to this Ed Coan guy. Man, who is he anyway? Never should have taken his advice… LOL

Any vids of OP squatting heavy?

“Core” might mean or feel like a number of different things like getting torso stability and bracing or upper back tightness or not being able to maintain either of these.


Yup. Always a giggle when the talk is core strength and everyone goes straight to abs. Similar to how, on a discussion about stronger arms, it becomes a topic on biceps.

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I like to do ab stuff before the real work, as a warm up that does something useful. Or thrown in between sets of other lifts so I don’t have to stand around.

Didn’t Ed Coan like to do a heavy side bend/1 arm deadlift kinda hybrid lift for his mid section?

Either way, side bends, Pallof presses and suitcase walks (1 armed farmers walks) are good for the side core. Band Pallof press is especially cool and easy. I can take the band anywhere in the gym, loop it over something near by and get some core in super easy.


@guineapig - does Garrett Blevins have you doing any ab work?

Why do you say that? Any time I hear anyone using the term “core” in relation to lifting or exercise they are talking about abs, lower back strength tends to be a different issue. You may notice that I avoid using the word “core”, partly for that reason.

He did single arm holds for grip strength, any “core” work was indirect.

Because the core is made up of more than just the abs, much like how, in the analogy I presented, the arms are made up of more than just the biceps. People only focus on the front of the core, because it’s the part that they can see, and they forget about the sides and the back.

It sounds like you hang out with silly people, haha.

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You do have a point, but again that’s why it’s better to avoid the term “core” altogether.

That’s a COA for sure. I’ve never run into issues with the term myself. I remember Dave Tate referring to it as “torso strength” before, and they helped with dialogue.

Yes but minimal it seems. 3 sets of ez planks per week.

Think it’s more for maintenance than anything right now. Current phase of training is strength/peaking so a lot of the accessory work is put on maintenance I think to preserve muscle or certain qualities and saving recovery for the heavy lifting

What happens in a volume phase I dunno

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I’ve been doing hanging leg raises for years, as my single ab workout for powerlifting. I don’t really notice much of a difference with anything else. Leg raises take the pressure off my hip flexors. Something I noticed right when I first started squatting, and balance out the slight anterior tilt I have, while also taking pressure off of my lower back from frequent squatting.

I’m the opposite. When i do hanging leg raises my hip flexors seize up and get super tight

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My favorites are goodmornings and zercher squats.

I also do some cable chops, med ball throws and slams, and heavy punching bag work but I don’t think any of that is particularly specific to PL.

On the topic of Duffin-esk bracing techniques, he does this quadruped dumbbell row where he has one knee on the bench and the other leg, instead of being on the ground, is held in the air. You have to be super strict on it and it seems to help build abdominal pressure associated with squats and deads.

Also, lately I have been using bent one arm dumbbell rows and instead of bracing with my arm on something sturdy, I just let it hang and keep my feet staggered. First time I did this my obliques were pretty sore afterwards.

Abs: mostly ab wheel rollouts or planks. Both with added weight.

Backside: weighted back raises or GMs.