T Nation

Who Trains Their Core?


Hi friends!

Today with my PT; "thePidgeon" we had established that I had weak lower abdominal strength, which was maybe the reason why I often get back pain when lifting heavy ass weight. I always thought squats and deads would be all I needed for core development.

So, anyway, Ive started on a core/rehanb program that involves lots of single leg movements, bridges on stability balls, saw bridges and lots of hip flexor stretching.

Question: who else here has workouts commited to core development? What do you do? How often?



I do an ab/core workout 3-4 days a week, depending on how much energy i've got. I'll either do them before, or after a weights session, sometimes both. I don't really feel that abs pre-workout affects my other lifts, unless it's a squat/DL day, in which case i do abs after.

to name a few:
kneeling roll-outs
swiss ball pikes
hanging leg raise variations
weighted sit ups on a decline
reverse crunch variations
plank variations
weighted russian twists
mountain climbers
weighted swiss ball crunch variations
dragon flag variations

all performed between 12-20 rep range, usually for 3 sets and exercise, typically 2-3 exercises per session


Rotational work, unilateral work, heavy stuff, walks....
How was it established that the lower abs were the weak link?
Ya sure it is not a symptom only? Just curious.


I do


I've been using the rings lately and it his the whole core nicely.

I also employ L-sits and serratus crunches, and of course, heavy deads and squats. Works for me.

Once in a long while, I'll get out the ab wheel, that always leaves me sore.


I believe in direct ab work, yes. This is a portion of a chapter from my eBook that really pertains to this post:

"No program is truly complete unless there is some specific ab work involved. The core will always be activated with compound movements, but it never actually becomes the point of focus with those lifts. I used to believe that direct ab work wasn?t necessary. I changed my mind when my clients started to dominate me with their ability to perform ab movements more easily than I could demonstrate for them. I was training my clients? abs directly but neglecting my own! The difference between no direct ab work and direct ab work became very clear to me. Direct ab work must be done."

I'll make sure to get 3 direct ab movements in each training microcycle. Their rep ranges vary from 2-3 sets of 18-20 all the way down to 4-5 sets of 4-6 reps. I prefer to cover all my rep range bases for all of my lifts.


I do either leg raises or plank variations after legs. typically 3sett x 10reps/10-30sec.



When I do hanging leg raises, I cant get my legs out straight(poor hamsring flexibility?), and I cant really feel my abs working, but can feel my lower back strain.

What am I doing wrong? How can I progress into doing proper hanging leg raises?



sit ups with plate behind the neck, thats it.


Do it with knees bent for now. Stretch your hams n lower back regularly.


Ya man, HLRs are hard at first, definitely go with the slight knee bend, for do it from a captain's chair until you build the posterior strength.