NY Times article says: Training core isn't that important
Just read this which came as news to me, as I always though that core strength was a very high priority.
There was one part in the article that talked about doing crunches too often can actually damage your spine. The number recommended was way lower than I would assume most people here would do in a session.
Have any of the more educated posters got an opinion on this?
the crunches thing has been known for ages.
what the article basically states, if i read it right, is common sense: having a strong core is good, but if ALL you have is a strong core, those who have the complete package will have better performance than you, proportionally.
I think its saying a bit more than that but it is a very broad article MA might have specific requirements for abdominal training that go beyond core strength but that's beyond my knowledge.
Originally Posted by Fish Of Doom
From the article:
"Findings about the effect of standard core exercises on athleticism, though, have been mixed. A representative study of collegiate rowers, for instance, found that after eight weeks of an arduous core-exercise regimen — added to their normal workout routines — the rowers had great-looking abs but weren’t better rowers; their performance was unchanged in a rowing-machine time trial, compared with measurements before they’d undertaken the extensive core routines."
... “Personally, I do not believe that it is necessary to specifically train the core,” said Thomas Nesser, an associate professor of exercise science at Indiana State and senior author of the study about core stability and performance. In most instances, if you “train for your sport, core strength will develop,” he said, and it will be the right amount and type of core strength for that sport.
that is exactly what i just said. core strength helps, but excess core strength will not improve other attributes that are not directly correlated to core strength, therefore those that have a good balance of core strength and those other attributes their activity of choice might require will have a proportionately better performance.
I always considered my core muscles as any other muscles, you wont train your biceps more than once maybe twice a week, so why your abdomen?
I see what your saying but this was the reason I quoted what is below:
Originally Posted by Fish Of Doom
- "Findings about the effect of standard core exercises on athleticism, though, have been mixed. A representative study of collegiate rowers, for instance, found that after eight weeks of an arduous core-exercise regimen — added to their normal workout routines — the rowers had great-looking abs but weren’t better rowers; their performance was unchanged in a rowing-machine time trial, compared with measurements before they’d undertaken the extensive core routines."
Saying that there are no gains for increased core strength coupled with existing attributes pertaining to a given activity and in any case existing core strength isn't the focus, specifically training core strength is the focus of the article.
This is well known.
For most people the best "core" exercises are heavy compound exercises. The core's main function is stabilization, along with transfer of energy. Heavy deadlifts, squats, overhead presses, good mornings, etc are utterly brutal on the core in terms of its stabilizing function.
There's also a trend to use specialized "core" exercises as antirotation exercises, another kind of stabilization.
Core strength also develops quickly and plateaus.
By the way, "core" and "abs" are not synonyms. For example, the lower back is part of the core.
Too many people train only their abs and ignore their lower back which leads to a muscle imbalance that leads to jacked up posture that leads to other problems. Training your entire core is important, especially if you are going to do heavy or explosive lifting of any kind I would recommend supplemental core work, but I don't think anyone needs to be doing 1000 crunches or anything like that.
I feel like I live in this sub-forum recently, but here goes.
The thing that bothers me most is citing Brad Schoenfeld WAY out of context. The paper he co-wrote suggests low rep partial range of motion crunches with high weight. "6 - 8 crunches" in proper context also means per set, though Schoenfeld and his co-author (fairly arbitrarily) set the limit of crunches per session at an absolute maximum of 60, while also allowing at least 48 hours between performing crunches again. It's really annoying to see people put a lot of work into something (whether I agree or not) and have it reduced to a soundbyte that's far from the intent.
The idea that core function has no affect on athleticism seems intuitively bunk. What these few studies show is that improved core strength had no affect in the individuals studied with the activities picked as performance measures. The article cites a different study wherein improved core strength improved performance in running, which says the opposite too.
Running against the article's general tone, I can think of a study off the top of my head where Mcgill tested strength in a standing horizontal press and found benching strength had almost nothing to do with strength output. The limiting factor in all cases was body weight and ability to stabilize the core. Anecdotally you can see a lot of similar stuff in powerlifting in general. You bring up the weak link in the chain and performance will improve globally.
What I'd gain from all of this is that improving core strength improves athleticism in situations where the person or sport requires more core strength. I'm not entirely sure I needed studies to tell me that.
What isn't touched on that may be even more important is injury prevention/reduction/rehabilitation. That's a whole can of worm in itself, but I can't think of many if any people who argue increased spinal stability doesn't matter for back health.
I doubt any of the athletes they reviewed were martial artists...who value core strength greatly compared to the sports they DID cover (rowing, e.g.).
They seem to lump "athleticism" in without admitting that obviously core strength is more valuable to some activities than others.
There was little correlation in this study between robust core muscles and athleticism
Judo, boxing without core strength? Na.
If I remember anything from my judo days it was that the strong but skinny guys with no core strength had no chance of moving me around.
And what about core exercises other than crunches? Some of the most valuable TMA conditioning exercises consist of core strengthening routines.
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO