Category Archives: Ab Training

Free Core Article and Two New Glute Exercises

I’m very proud to promote a new article I just co-authored with my buddy Brad Schoenfeld on core training. We worked very hard on this one and I feel it’s without a doubt the best core article ever written to date. Check out the chart on the final page, it does an excellent job of summarizing the different types of core exercises. It’s a free pdf so you can download the article and save it for future reference. Click on the link below to read/download the article:

Strategies for Optimal Core Training Program Design

Moving on, here are two new glute exercises that I’ve been performing as a warm-up prior to my workouts. I aim for quality, not quantity, and do a couple sets of 6-10 reps on each side with both movements. I really like these for full range hip strength and functional flexibility. The first is performed from a standing position and works on a more hip-neutral ROM, whereas the second is performed from a quadruped position and works on a more hips-flexed ROM. Both involve the same principle. If you do them right you’ll feel them working both hips very effectively, but you need to concentrate and utilize proper body position and movement.

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The RKC Plank

Here’s a video discussing the RKC Plank. I learned this from my buddy Joe Sansalone. I’m not sure if I’m teaching it correctly according to the RKC, but this is the way I currently teach the plank, and quite frankly the regular plank pales in comparison to this variation.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Lengthen the lever by placing your arms further out.
  2. Narrow the base by placing your elbows closer together.
  3. Contract the quads to lock out the knees.
  4. Contract the glutes as hard as possible to posteriorly tilt the pelvis (the low abs and external obliques will assist with this too); hold this pelvic position throughout the duration of the set
  5. Look down and keep the head and neck in neutral (packing the neck might even be better).

Here’s the video:

To me this is a no-brainer. You get:

Way more rectus abdominis and oblique activity (see chart below – 4X more lower ab, 3X more external oblique, and 2X more internal oblique) Way more glute max activity Low back pain prevention via several different mechanisms;
  • Teaches proper hip mechanics which will prevent lumbar hyperextension during hip extension movements
  • Teaches the glute max to force closure of the SI Joint during hip extension movements
  • I could go on as there are more mechanisms at play but you get the point
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Standing Rotary Training is Whole Body Training!

I’m going to be quite honest…I love rotary training. I believe it helps bridge the gap between traditional weight room strength and on-the-field power. Any fool will realize that simply increasing muscle mass via heavy compound lifting (let’s ignore performance enhancing substances) will improve rotary power – just look at guys like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds. These guys could practically bunt homeruns after they sufficiently increased their muscular hypertrophy. This is due to the fact that standing rotation power relies on high contraction velocities via a bunch of different muscles throughout the human body. On a scale of 1 to 10, general training through heavy compound movement might get you to an 8, but if you want to reach your maximum capacity (ie: a 10), you need to perform specific rotary movements. For example, squat strength is important but it’s not the end-all be all for shot-putters using the rotational technique (Kyriazis et al. 2009).

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Free PDF of Spinal Flexion Review Paper

Spinal Flexion Review Paper in the SCJ

The NSCA was nice enough to allow readers to download the pdf of Brad and my spinal flexion review paper for free. This is a very volatile topic as evidenced by the fact that the article is already the most read article in the Strength and Conditioning Journal’s history and it’s only been out for one month.

I’ve heard that Brad and I have been accused on two different strength training forums of cherry-picking from the literature (ignoring good evidence that doesn’t suit our hypothesis and solely focusing on evidence that does suit our hypothesis). This is a very serious accusation and I wish that fitness professionals had some evidence of this before making those accusations.

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