Jan 11th, 2012
By Mike Minium
I first became aware of Dr. Stuart McGill a few years ago, primarily because he was one of the first researchers out there to rail against "core" training. The video above is really just a drive-by of some of the conclusions of his research and clinical experience and just scratches the surface, but the take-home point is clear: the role of the body’s core (if I must use that word, which I really don’t like) is to stabilize the spine. Doing countless sit-ups and crunches is counterproductive to that goal and trains spinal flexion (not something you want your body to do as a default, which can occur when training a movement pattern repeatedly).
I don’t agree with all of the movement prescriptions, but where I disagree it’s usually just a nitpick (e.g., I think the box is too far away from the lady when she goes to pick it up. It would be a lot better to have that box in closer to her body). On all of the big points, though, he’s dead-on, and has a lot of research and clinical experience to back up his claims.
We don’t really do a lot of direct ab work in our training, but when we do, it’s usually something static like holds of various types (handstand holds, L-holds, plank holds, etc). The best possible core training you can do is to lift heavy weights with proper technique (as well as do challenging bodyweight exercises). The stabilization of the upper torso that has to occur for your hips and shoulders to move through a proper range of motion under load is where it’s at when it comes to training not just your back, but your whole body.
And if you want that six pack, take care of what you eat.
More on Dr. McGill:Read More