Training the Backside of Your Core

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I’m not a big fan of the word “core.” Unless of course, your name happens to end with “core,” then it’s completely awesome. However in the fitness world, the term “core” is often misused and misunderstood.

Your “core” is not just the front of Mens Health or Oxygen Magazine, with the cover model sporting a six pack that you could wash your clothes on. Walk into any gym in America and you will find many trainees seemingly working their core by performing endless repetitions of crunches or any other multitude of machines in an effort to attain said six pack. Walk into any gym in America and you will find that most trainees are still fat, despite training their “core.”

Walk into my gym (Cressey Performance Center, located in Hudson, MA) and you will find trainees performing deadlift variations, pull-throughs, glute-ham raises, supine bridges, squat variations, lots of single leg work, and as I have alluded to on several times in the past with this blog, ANTI-rotational movements. No crunches. No gimmickey machines. People look good.

Everyone looks at rear ends. Guess what? That’s your “core” too.

I am in total agreement with physical therapist/strength coach Gray Cook when he says that people need to pay more attention to “training the backside of the core” (ie: glutes, hips).

We should be hip based creatures. The hips are the engine of the core. Everything from force, power, to strength is transferred through the hips. The engine of your car does the same thing; gives your car horsepower. Your mid-section (abdominals) can be seen as the transmission or drive shaft of the core. You’re not supposed to bend or twist the drive shaft/transmission of your car. So why do we seem to think that that is the best way to train our core? Why do we totally neglect the engine?

In the end, training the backside of your core will lead to better PERFORMANCE. Learn to use your hips and glutes, and you will be able to handle more weight in the gym. You handle more weight, you burn more calories. You burn more calories, you burn more fat in any given 24 hour period (assuming your diet is dialed in). Presto: lean, firm mid section (and a nice rear end to boot. Yay you). No crunches involved.

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