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Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Core Exercise for Function and Perfromance

Brent Brookbush

Brent Brookbush


Panel Discussion: Core Function & Performance

s I have been updating my articles on "core subsystems" I have noticed that my core exercise repertoire is fairly limited. What are some exercises and techniques you use to improve core function, endurance, and/or performance - and why do you use these exercises?

Moderated by Brent Brookbush DPT, PT, MS, PES, CES, CSCS, ACSM H/FS

This Panel Discussion was originally posted on my facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/brent.brookbush - on 4/27/2013

Stephanie Anderson Derfus I'd really like to join your discussions but every time I click on the forum link, it directs me to 'Badoink'…a porn sight. Lol. Funny actually but I really wanted to get in on the core discussion.

April 27 at 11:22am

Brent Brookbush Hey Stephanie Anderson Derfus, this has happened in the past, and I changed passwords to everything, but I am guessing you are logging in from a phone and it may actually have todo with something on your phone. The address is correct and I just clicked on it and it worked…

None the less… the discussion is happening right here in the comments sections… the link is to the discussion archive. So either way, you can get into this discussion by posting a comment below.

April 27 at 11:27am

Katie Jones Love your articles

April 27 at 11:42am

Brent Brookbush Hey Stephanie Anderson Derfus, so I just spoke with a total #@%&*^!@@ at the website you mentioned. His manager will be calling me Monday to get to the bottom of this issues… I do not know why people have to be such $%&^@*.

April 27 at 11:43am

Brent Brookbush Thank you Katie Jones, do you have a core exercise you want to add to our exercise library?

April 27 at 11:46am

Katie Jones I'm a huge huge fan of a particular excersise that kills your lower abs. Ten pound plate in hands green bosu ball between feet. Stretch out tap ball to ground and arms to ears. Then V your body and tap together not sure what the name of it is…"awesome V". Lol

April 27 at 11:50am

Brent Brookbush Hey Katie Jones, thank you for the addition, but I have to use this opportunity to bust a myth. I am going to copy a section from my book below:

"Myth #29: You can work your lower abs.

What You Should Know: There is no such thing as lower abs.

One of the largest myths in the fitness industry is whether or not you can target the upper or lower portion of your abs. Allow me to destroy this myth right now. All muscles contract from origin to insertion. That is your abs, when activated, will always contract across the whole length of the muscle from pelvis to rib cage. The muscle must contract across its full length to act on your spine effectively. You would never think of working your lower bicep or lower glutes, so why your lower abs? Imagine your abs are a rope that pulled your spine forward. Could you pull on one end of the rope without creating tension on the other end? Could you pull your spine forward before there was tension across the entire length? Could you pull on one end of the rope, and expect to accomplish anything if there was still slack in the line? Your abs work the same way.

Several studies comparing abdominal exercises and the activity of your upper and lower abs show that an increase in upper rectus abdominis activity does not occur without an increase in lower abdominal activity, regardless of the exercise (11, 38, 40-41, 45). The two ends must work together. After all, they are the same muscle."


The snippet from my book this week was also about abs - check it out on my blog - http://b2cfitness.com/cpt_blog/

Fitness or Fiction (Volume 1): The Truth About Diet and Exercise


The fitness industry has become an unregulated misinformation machine. It is com…See More

April 27 at 12:17pm

Katie Jones Exactly agree with you!! By killing lower abs I know the excersise doesn't isolate but rather intensity works the entire abdominal out with it really strains the lower portion of the abdominals;). In my case anyway…the upper portion of my abdominals never get sore no matter how hard I try but this particular excersise makes my obliques and lower portion of my abdominals extremely sore;). Thanks for the article!!! Love this stuff. Pershing my degree in kinesiology and nutrition but I'm thinking of putting more energy into nutrition. It fascinates me

April 27 at 12:25pm

Brent Brookbush So if we cannot target the lower abs, then why do your "lower abs" get sore… and why does it matter? The answer to the soreness question is likely due to the psoas which lies underneath the lower portion of your abdominals… it is not actually your rectus abdominis you are feeling but your primary hip flexor… This explains why your Awesome "V"'s are so killer (resisted hip flexion)… and of course the real question is why do we care? You can't spot reduce, or target the fat over a muscle… so does it really matter if you target the upper or lower portion… I can assure you that your upper abs are not stronger than your lower abs, it all one muscle - it's like saying your upper bicep is stronger than your lower bicep.

On a related note… Short and over-active hip flexors contribute to postural dysfunction at the LPHC and lower leg and may be the root cause of various pathologies, including low back pain. Is strengthening our already short and tight hip flexors a great idea?

April 27 at 12:34pm

Katie Jones I read your article on that regarding the hip flexors. Your insight actually helped me a lot. I've been having a right glute and hamstring that were not firing. And have been working the ART massage of my hip flexor because its in a state of constant contraction from overtraining. And boom. My glute and hamstring are now firing . Your very knowledgeable. Thank you again. Keep being bad ass

April 27 at 12:56pm

Brent Brookbush As long as me being a bad ass is getting your ass to fire I think we are in good shape Keep on working through it… human movement is a complex equation, but the solutions pay huge dividends

April 27 at 1:43pm · Like · 1

Katie Jones Hahahaha. For sure!!

April 27 at 1:47pm

Melinda Reiner Using Pilates-style exercises using Theraband can help not only strengthen the core, but also work on neuromuscular control, which many people lack.

April 27 at 2:23pm

Kyle Stull I hope this is not off topic and I personally have no research at the moment. But, if we know that muscles around a dysfunctional joint will not fire with optimal timing and/or force (arthrokinematic inhibition) then what happens to the deep system if someone is suffering from gastric distress? Can nutrition be the key to optimal function of the core?

April 27 at 2:31pm

Karam Al-hamdani Planks side planks elevated planks plank with elastic lat pull down side plank with a elastic row crunches with Swiss ball under legs so as to fire up hamstrings consequentially inhibiting psoas and isolating rectus.

Mind you the only good thing about rectus is keeping us upright and looking good in beach mode

April 27 at 2:55pm

Karam Al-hamdani Kyle stull very interesting question I wonder if there is any research regarding that.

April 27 at 2:56pm

Melinda Reiner Addressing the GI issue and core stability, please review "Maya Abdominal Therapy"--a form of massage, which is commonly used for injury related to the core. Triathletes use it, because they are chronically in "forward position" on the bike.

April 27 at 2:59pm

Kyle Stull Melinda, thanks for the link. But, I'm thinking more along the lines of gluten. Gastric distress then inflammation then neurological inhibition because firing the muscles would just cause more distress..??

April 27 at 3:07pm

Shawn Fears Wow a discussion that isn't Oly related lol. I want to address your lower ab myth post. While I completely agree and know what you are saying, I have made an observation over my last hundred or so clients. The ones who tend to say they need "lower an work" are anteriorly tilted and really need oblique work to properly line up the hip.

April 27 at 3:10pm

Barbara Kay Best core crunch that I love is one leg crossed over the knee and lifting the whole lower body up off the ground to the center while bringing in the upper body at the same time. It burns the entire midsection from the first crunch.

April 27 at 3:10pm

Brent Brookbush Hey Shawn Fears,

Interesting observation, it could also be the anterior pelvic tilt leading to inhibition of the intrinsic stabilization subsystem (TVA and friends)… when these muscles are inhibited we end up with abdominal distension. I would also consider the obliques underactive

And where have you been, we have had two panel discussion since the "Snatch" conversation… thanks for posting brother

April 27 at 3:14pm

Brent Brookbush Hey Kyle Stull and Melinda Reiner,

I think this is a stretch, but I was considering taking a manual therapy course on fascial techniques and mobilization of the internal organs… who would of thought you could get certified in such a thing. The idea that somehow the GI system has receptors that reflexively lead to changes in muscle activity does not make sense to me… what would be the reason, the evolutionary advantage, the function of such an organizational scheme. With that being said… the course I mentioned above is well respected and used by many well respected PT's… One of us will have to do more research and get back to the group when we have more info.

April 27 at 3:18pm

Brent Brookbush Hey Barbara, I think my new favorite exercise is that crazy home base looking thing that you stick an olympic bar in and do what is essentially a single leg deadlift touchdown to up chop pattern… if is a strength/power level exercise, but I feel like I got some good transference to sporting activity when I found my self banding in the paint on the basketball court… of ya…. video coming soon.

April 27 at 3:21pm

Kyle Stull Damn you have good responses Brent Brookbush

April 27 at 3:22pm

Brent Brookbush Yes Kyle Stull, but you have the better profile pics

April 27 at 3:24pm

Brent Brookbush besides I have had a ton of practice… this the 74th panel discussion I have hosted.

April 27 at 3:24pm

Shawn Fears I just meant that I finally ran across a post that wasn't Oly related. Been busy the past couple months with teaching 3 classes at the U, picked up working with a highschool football team, clients scheduled around that, and my daughter who will be 2 in June. Oh yeah I also had a workout published in the IYCA's new "Big Book of Youth Programs", the chapter on highschool wrestling strength and conditioning.

Whew! Lol

Nice timing on this post by the way. I have a client who has an under developed spinal erector on his right side and the left side looks like he rows for a living. So I have been putting a lot of thought to core training this past week

April 27 at 3:43pm

Brent Brookbush Nice Shawn Fears, congrats on all the stuff your doing… I love to hear about hard thinkin' practitioners making strides. With the popularity of my Subsystem Articles and my recent updates I have been putting a lot of thought in myself.

April 27 at 3:45pm · Like · 2

Barbara Kay It's dangerous when Brent thinks

April 27 at 3:49pm

Jason Erickson One thing I see all the time, and this discussion is a good example, is that people immediately start suggesting the most brutal/intense/difficult exercises that causes them to feel discomfort in their "core" muscles. To me, this is putting the cart before the horse.

As Brent noted earlier, it's not the "lower abs" or "upper abs" doing the work. Instead, we may be feeling completely different muscle groups depending on the exercise performed.

Since many clients present with an anteriorly rotated pelvis, or with pelvic torsion, I often focus first on achieving proper pelvic alignment. With hyperactive and short psoas, I often find underactive/inhibited glutes. With a bit of training, the glutes begin to fire, the psoas lengthens, and pelvic alignment can be restored with increasing consistency. As pelvic alignment changes, so will the client's perception of which areas are most challenged in various exercises.

Even without any pathologies, most clients tend to have poor awareness/mobility in their spine. Before I throw anything strenuous at them, I check to see how well they can move and control their thorax and hips. If they can't perform simple stuff easily, it's time to start working on that.

Here's an example that I have referred clients to as a reference. Jump ahead to 3:42 for the Thorax and continue on into the hips.


That's just beginner-level stuff. If they have mastered the ability to move in those ways, I move on to more challenging variations on those concepts and then also more strenuous work.

Scott Sonnon Intuflow Beginner Part 4

http://www.flowacademy.net/ Scott Sonnon Intuflow Beginner The IntuFlow Mobility…See More

April 27 at 5:49p

Stephanie Anderson Derfus Thanks for your help, Brent!

April 27 at 7:39pm

Perry Nickelston Anything with the Renegade by PurMotion.

April 27 at 7:42pm

Brent Brookbush Nice comments Jason Erickson… I would definitely put optimal core function well before "core performance"… although it is important to bridge the gap if you are dealing with an athlete. Professionals are really guilty on both sides… just as I will not be able to perform optimally on the court with an anterior pelvic tilt and reflex inhibition of intrinsic stabilizers, I will also not be able to compete if I do not work on endurance, strength and power.

Perry Nickelston, I do love the stuff that Renegade and Purmotion are doing with core relative to the endurance, strength, and power I referenced above.

April 27 at 7:48pm

Brent Brookbush Thank you for participating Stephanie Anderson Derfus

April 27 at 7:49pm

Kyle Stull I have not had time to research this, but I am still thinking about it.. The visceral nervous system has two motor pathways (sympathetic and parasympathetic) and only one sensory pathway. Something neuroscientist call "convergence" is when the pathways in the same spinal segment can synapse off of the adjacent motor neurons. So, during a heart attack you will feel pain the heart but you may also feel pain in the arm. Or there can be referred pain from the diaphragm also down the arm. So, with free nerve endings in the stomach (for example) that can respond to pressure from abdominal distention or chemical stimuli, is there any way it could have the referred affect of inhibition? Obviously it would have to be traced back to the spinal segment of innervation to see if its a possibility.. Anyway, I guess just go eat a huge greasy burger and then squat heavy and see what happens!

© 2014 Brent Brookbush

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