Training what?! She could see from my face that I was not amused by what she said, but still repeated her question:
When will we do Core training? I’ve read on the internet that those muscles are the most important to train.
Her question came when we had just finished a Trojan Workout class. This lady was pretty new to our method and now one of my students, so I took her seriously. It’s good to know that you can’t easily specify a typical Trojan Workout student. Newbies and advanced athletes from all walks of life, train together side by side. They compete with themselves and inspire each other during training. This is part of the unique values when doing a Trojan Workout and part of its success. If you enter a Trojan Workout class that is just finished, and you ignore the clothes people are wearing, you have no idea what kind of activity this mixed group of people was doing. They all have different ages, gender, weight, form, education, and level of fitness. But since Trojan Workout is the intelligent approach to fitness and strength (and not a Spartan approach), I want my students to understand what we do, and why.
You know, I replied, those muscles have a sensitive personality and don’t like to be treated differently ☺. Let me explain.
There is a lot of misconception about your Core muscles and how to train them. If you look in an anatomy book, you will find that the core muscles include a group of cooperating muscles, located in the middle of your body. Those are the pelvic floor muscles, transversus abdominis, multifidus, internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis, erector spinae, and the diaphragm. These small muscles are used to stabilize the thorax and the pelvis during dynamic movement and it also provides internal pressure to expel substances (vomit, feces, air, etc.) From our point of view, the lumbar muscles, quadratus Lumborum (deep portion), deep rotators, as well as cervical muscles, rectus capitus anterior and lateralis, longus coli may also be considered members of the core group. And we include the latissimus dorsi, gluteus maximus, and trapezius. So, a lot more muscles!
With trojan workout, we don’t talk about special core training at all. Trojan Workout is all you need. We do stabilize and we get stronger every workout in a safe way, so our “core” is always involved. We use them functionally; we ask for their help in nearly every exercise and we never treat them differently or special, and we never isolate them! They are just part of the team.
Have you ever seen the movie Puss in Boots? Then you know Humpty Dumpty. I know, his body is not appealing. But this is how we see our core muscles. All your body muscles are involved. It ís a bit like your body is one big muscle with 5 extensions; an egg with a face, arms, and legs. It’s pure strength that comes from the center of your body.
As we see it, you shouldn’t isolate any muscle when you train! And especially not the core muscles. When you do your workout well, these muscles are always involved in the movement and make it possible for you to move with stabilization. You can use exercises with a kettlebell, your bodyweight, or basically any other tool. In doing so, you have to make sure of 3 things:
- The intensity of the exercise is high enough. As a rule of thumb; if you can do an exercise with more than 10 repetitions, it’s not strength you are training, and your core muscles won’t bother to join in as much.
- Your form of movement should have the highest quality possible. Your first and your last rep should look the same and you should always maintain optimal required tension in your core-muscles, with every rep.
- If you want to pay extra attention to the muscles around your waist, train them for maximum strength, not for endurance. Like how we start a Trojan Set, with doing an isometric exercise. Always say NO to exercises that you have to do more than 10 times to feel the effect, like sit-ups and crunches.
So, from now on, if you hear somebody talking about your core muscles, think of Humpty Dumpty and all the strength you can gain by keeping them as your friend. And don’t treat them differently!