Is Core Training Necessary?

Hi Rick,

I read your post on crunches and I couldn’t agree more. I substituted various planks for crunches a few months ago and my back feels better already. I read an article recently that said that if I do squats and deadlifts that I don’t need any additional training for my core muscles. What are your thoughts?


Great question Scott. I just discussed this with one of our clients at the studio. Studies like this one by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research suggest that squats and deadlifts produce a stronger contraction in the core musculature than bridges, planks, and other core specific activities. The load used to produce the desired affect with the deadlifts and squats was 80% of the test subjects one repetition maximum. I know at our facility we work with some clients that can’t immediately perform proper squats and deadlifts with that amount of weight. With these clients, we begin with the stability exercises such as bridges/planks. Once you can perform these big moves with an appropriate load, you can drastically reduce the amount of direct core training in your program.

Beginner- build a stable foundation and begin to develop strength in the big movements

Advanced- increase the load of your squats and deadlifts and reduce direct core training

Rick Mayo


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