A Quick Core Training Tip for a Chiseled Midsection and Injury Prevention
The crunch, it was the king of abdominal exercises for years, and for good reason, it makes the rectus abdominus muscles burn, which we all like.
But in recent history the crunch has been removed from many training programs, also for good reason.
With the works of Dr. Stuart McGill among others, the world of training has shifted away from dynamic core exercises as they have shown to place unwanted stress on the spine that can lead to pain and injury.
Instead, isometric core exercises have become the staple in the majority of programs as they produce more stability throughout the system, and do not place the shear forces on the spine like many of the dynamic exercises do.
So to prevent unwanted injuries, or when you are training your core around an existing injury or pain, these isometric exercises such as planks, side planks, anti-rotation presses, chops, lifts, etc. are the better choice.
It is hard to find exercises that beat dynamic exercises like crunches and oblique crunches when it comes to creating the abdominal burn we all like, as well as making it feel as if your abs are going to rip apart…which again, we all like for some reason, including myself.
And because of this, I know many of us will still use these exercises even if research suggests otherwise.
So what can you do to get the best of both worlds?
By supersetting isometric and dynamic core exercises.
At the end of your training sessions, complete 3-5 supersets consisting of one to two of the isometric core exercises listed below, and one of the dynamic core exercises.
Side Plank Switches
Slow Tempo Russian Twist
Cable Chop with Trunk Flexion
Two of my favorite pairings are crunches with plank rows and oblique crunches with side planks switches.
The options are plenty, and these lists are in no way exhaustive.
Keep the principle of performing at least one isometric for every dynamic and you will be setting yourself up for a ripped midsection while reducing the risk of unwanted back pain or injury.
What do you think? Have you tried this approach?