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Old 02-26-2013, 01:34 PM   #1
dabears
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Training the "Core"

Rippetoes thoughts on why isolated "core" exercises are a complete waste of time, and how everyone would be better off training with the barbell exercises (squats/deads/presses/olympic lifts).

Worth a read if you train "abs". I know I used to.

http://startingstrength.com/articles...y_rippetoe.pdf

Excerpt:

Quote:
I am puzzled that anyone who has actually gone through the process of getting strong themselves
actually thinks that this approach to training really causes an improvement in athletic performance.
Unless a person is an unadapted rank novice (for whom anything acts as an adaptive stimulus) or a
genetic freak (for whom ineffective silly **** like 5 lb. Alternate Dumbbell Presses while standing on
a Bosu® thingee) will not adversely affect an already elite performance (as said athlete will confirm
when asked by somebody other than his coach), "core stability" training is an absolute waste of time
that could be much better spent getting stronger - and therefore more stable - in much more effective
ways. Any person who has first-hand experience with both heavy barbell training and fooling around
at the physical therapist's office knows this to be true.
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Old 02-26-2013, 01:54 PM   #2
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Interesting. I only did bicycles, planks, and leg lifts and, regardless of time spent on "abs", noticed my "core" looked a lot stronger simply from doing legs and compound movements.

So, from my noob standpoint, his claim makes sense.
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:04 PM   #3
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I actually apply this thinking to arms as well. I like to train my body as a unit, not bits and pieces. I no longer use dumbbells, except with incline bench since it feels better on my shoulders.

I'm a huge fan of efficiency, and compound barbell movements give you the best bang for your buck. Yet hardly any globo gym goer performs squats and deadlifts.

It's also pretty sad that only a few gyms out of a hundred in my city have rubber weights for olympic weightlifting, and that I will have to inconvenience myself this summer switching just so I can perform cleans etc
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:06 PM   #4
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I still think that to have a great core in both looks and function, adding in ab work is the way to go. In before the freak of nature m3inline6 rolls up and says he doesn't work core and has a 6 pack therefore proving ab work is a waste.
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:11 PM   #5
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I still think that to have a great core in both looks and function, adding in ab work is the way to go. In before the freak of nature m3inline6 rolls up and says he doesn't work core and has a 6 pack therefore proving ab work is a waste.
I'm curious why you think that? I think looks are mostly diet and genetic makeup of your abdominals, and I don't understand how high rep sit-ups and hanging knee raises for example will do more for you than balancing the spinal column lifting or pushing an extremely heavy barbell.

I'm also interested to see how "aesthetic" my body is after my spring cut, since I haven't done an isolation movement since November. And even more so as time progresses, because that's another main argument is that compound training won't make an aesthetic body. Another thing I consider more genetic than anything.
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:17 PM   #6
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I'm curious why you think that? I think looks are mostly diet and genetic makeup of your abdominals, and I don't understand how high rep sit-ups and hanging knee raises for example will do more for you than balancing the spinal column lifting or pushing an extremely heavy barbell.

I'm also interested to see how "aesthetic" my body is after my spring cut, since I haven't done an isolation movement since November. And even more so as time progresses, because that's another main argument is that compound training won't make an aesthetic body. Another thing I consider more genetic than anything.
Simply because I think to have great looking functional muscle you have to work it. I don't think these compound movements do as much for my core as a good ab workout would be. I think if you take 5000 people that have a good diet and lift heavy and break them into two groups, the one that works abs in addition to all the heavy lifts, they will be the group with the better mid section. Just like the guy that curls on top of doing chin ups would have then better arms.

I think a lot of us get caught up in this "big lifts is all you need for abs" mantra when we just want to believe that because it's one less thing we need to do.
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:22 PM   #7
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http://www.leangains.com/2011/09/****arounditis.html

Quote:
11. You're "training the core"...and it involves a Swiss Ball, Bosu Ball or something else that makes you look like an idiot.

"Training the core" is a phrase that is all too often used by people who are afraid to squat. You don't need special movements for the core, because it comes with the territory if you squat, deadlift, press and chin. No one squats 2 x body weight with a weak core.
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:26 PM   #8
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I think a lot of people refer to just the abs as core. I know there is a lot more too it and I'm mainly talking about a good set of abs is easier to attain when doing direct ab work then just a bunch of squats, deads, and presses.
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:32 PM   #9
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Simply because I think to have great looking functional muscle you have to work it. I don't think these compound movements do as much for my core as a good ab workout would be. I think if you take 5000 people that have a good diet and lift heavy and break them into two groups, the one that works abs in addition to all the heavy lifts, they will be the group with the better mid section. Just like the guy that curls on top of doing chin ups would have then better arms.

I think a lot of us get caught up in this "big lifts is all you need for abs" mantra when we just want to believe that because it's one less thing we need to do.
That's what I mean. We will probably agree to disagree, but to quote sweetbro/berkhan nobody is squatting 2x body weight with a week core. Is the extra volume doing isolated core work going to make any difference? Or would it cut into recovery time? I'd be interested to see the results of that study as well.

Same argument can apply to the guy curling after he does weighted chin-ups. If he is doing appropriate volume to stimulate growth with the weighted chin-ups, what benefit is he receiving by curling afterwards? I think this would actually be more harmful than helpful, just my opinion.

And totally agree on the one less thing thoughts, I've had that voice in the back of my head too (am I really cutting things because I'm just being lazy?). I've read and researched so much on the topic the past few months that I am a pretty firm believer now that less is more when it comes to exercise, as long as the "less" is enough for you personally to stimulate muscle growth. My magic number so far is 25-30 reps, split between 3-4 sets depending on exercise and how heavy I am lifting (which effects rep scheme). As I grow stronger, and my body adapts to that amount of volume and TUT I will need to increase it to gain strength.
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:45 PM   #10
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Just about the only ab work I do is full range of motion GHD situps, sometimes weighted. I think doing 100s of reps of 5 different ab workouts is a waste of time unless you need to have perfect balance and definition, like for bodybuilding.
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:50 PM   #11
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can you guys actually squat 2x your body weight? i'm nowhere near that
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:51 PM   #12
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can you guys actually squat 2x your body weight? i'm nowhere near that
No. I would crumble and die.
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:55 PM   #13
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I was going to mention, "bodybuilding" at the actual competition level isn't really applicable. But that isn't exactly functional muscle anyways.

And yeah I'm nowhere near that (at about 1.5x currently). But my core has definitely been greatly strengthened from heavy barbell exercises.
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Old 02-26-2013, 03:05 PM   #14
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I was going to mention, "bodybuilding" at the actual competition level isn't really applicable. But that isn't exactly functional muscle anyways.

And yeah I'm nowhere near that (at about 1.5x currently). But my core has definitely been greatly strengthened from heavy barbell exercises.
I was thinking that lol

In terms of just squatting and not caring about what abs look like then yea you can probably avoid doing a ton if sit ups all week long.
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Old 02-26-2013, 03:11 PM   #15
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I still think that to have a great core in both looks and function, adding in ab work is the way to go. In before the freak of nature m3inline6 rolls up and says he doesn't work core and has a 6 pack therefore proving ab work is a waste.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's a simple law of Calories In V. Calories Used. If you're eating healthy and burning a lot of calories, you'll get shredded... and then abs show.

A 6 pack is made in the womb (genetics) and the kitchen (diet)... not much in the gym (or so is my take)
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Old 02-26-2013, 03:15 PM   #16
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I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's a simple law of Calories In V. Calories Used. If you're eating healthy and burning a lot of calories, you'll get shredded... and then abs show.

A 6 pack is made in the womb (genetics) and the kitchen (diet)... not much in the gym (or so is my take)
I think you're 80% correct. I still think just like any muscle it will benefit from working it. We could say the same about chest, quads, arms etc.
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Old 02-26-2013, 03:17 PM   #17
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I think a lot of people refer to just the abs as core. I know there is a lot more too it and I'm mainly talking about a good set of abs is easier to attain when doing direct ab work then just a bunch of squats, deads, and presses.
Yeah I've been doing abs maybe once a week. 5-10 minutes on it isn't a big waste of time IMO.
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Old 02-26-2013, 03:26 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by DylloS View Post
I still think that to have a great core in both looks and function, adding in ab work is the way to go. In before the freak of nature m3inline6 rolls up and says he doesn't work core and has a 6 pack therefore proving ab work is a waste.
I disagree completely. If you perform a multitude of other lifts AND have a decent diet, the abs will come. I don't have abs because I'm a genetic freak. I wouldn't even consider myself a freak at all honestly; I can get fat just like anybody else, and I've been "smooth" during lazy periods. I have abs because I do a CRAP LOAD of lower body/leg work and have low body fat. It has nothing to do with direct ab work. I have a "strong core" because I spend a lot of time doing things that REQUIRE the core to become stronger to perform (..handstands, flips, and all sorts of stuff........as well as the important lifts).



Quote:
Originally Posted by dabears View Post
I'm curious why you think that? I think looks are mostly diet and genetic makeup of your abdominals, and I don't understand how high rep sit-ups and hanging knee raises for example will do more for you than balancing the spinal column lifting or pushing an extremely heavy barbell.

I'm also interested to see how "aesthetic" my body is after my spring cut, since I haven't done an isolation movement since November. And even more so as time progresses, because that's another main argument is that compound training won't make an aesthetic body. Another thing I consider more genetic than anything.
I think that the shape of your abdominals and how they look when stripped of fat are truly a genetic thing. Some people have a very unattractive abdominal section despite being lean, and there is nothing that they can do to alter that. Hanging knee raises, etc. are useless to me when I can front squat or dead lift and have my entire core hit just as hard, if not harder, and cause growth in other areas of my body.

Compound training WILL develop an aesthetic body, but HOW your muscle looks is genetic. In fact, you stand to effect more overall bodily change with compound movements than focusing strictly on isolation movements. However, isolation movements are great for a specific emphasis, especially where very small muscle groups are concerned, so they do have their place in the regimen depending on what your goals are.


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Just about the only ab work I do is full range of motion GHD situps, sometimes weighted. I think doing 100s of reps of 5 different ab workouts is a waste of time unless you need to have perfect balance and definition, like for bodybuilding.
I'll add to this. Perfect balance is purely genetic (..assuming you meant symmetrical). There isn't an exercise in the world that will add symmetry to the mid-section.


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can you guys actually squat 2x your body weight? i'm nowhere near that
Yes. I weigh 185-ish pounds on a good day and I can squat over 405 lbs. I'm sure that Glight can, and I'd wager that Jeremy can as well.

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Old 02-26-2013, 03:27 PM   #19
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Yeah I've been doing abs maybe once a week. 5-10 minutes on it isn't a big waste of time IMO.
What are you comparing your analysis up against? Have you compound lifted for an extended period of time in order to have something to measure your "once a week ab workout" up against?

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Old 02-26-2013, 03:29 PM   #20
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I was thinking that lol

In terms of just squatting and not caring about what abs look like then yea you can probably avoid doing a ton if sit ups all week long.
I wanted to find something to back up my claim that (aesthetically speaking) abs are almost entirely genetically related, once you've achieved the BF level to reveal them.

I discovered a very interesting article that may interest others in the process, regarding bodybuilding/aesthetics.

http://mennohenselmans.com/bodybuilding-vs-aesthetics/

But the relevant quote:

Quote:
The abdominals also greatly vary in shape. Some if not most people's abs are not perfectly symmetrical. Some people can get an 8-pack, but most can't. There's nothing you can do to change the shape of your abs by training, despite what many advertisements claim. The image below demonstrates the difference in abdominal shape between Tom Venuto and … some guy.
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