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KPj
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Post by KPj » Mon Mar 02, 2009 5:33 am

I think everyones making far too much of a meal out of that article. i read it again, it's clearly just a test. Testing flexion. The guy's a reputable coach, you know, he trains real people. If you pass easily, then be happy about it. Jeeeeeeeez. If you've read much of the authors stuff, too, he doesn't even recomend training flexion (sit ups as per the test) much at all. He seems to be on the McGill band wagon on that one. He also differentiates between strength of the abs and stability. Strength = moving i.e. flexing the spine. Stability = resisting movement i.e. a squat or deadlift, where you abs actually PREVENT flexion.

Personally, i've not done a tradiational sit up, weighted or unweighted, during a training session in a few years, and don't intend to. That's not couting the weighted sit up I do at the end of DB bench pressing. I question the value of being strong in flexion/rounding/sitting up and the carryover to squat and DL numbers, or any numbers other than 'sit up numbers', purely because my numbers are quite decent, i'm progressing, and mostly because I don't actually want to flex my spine in a squat, ya know.

Anyway, i'm just stirring it up. But have you considered that maybe the author feels that if you're a "level 4", that time would be better spent doing things other than training flexion? Maybe he would think the proposed 'level 5' would be waste of time? I don't know that he does think that. I think that, but just my personal view.

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Post by Ironman » Mon Mar 02, 2009 10:06 pm

I don't know if flexion translates over to stability or not. But I know stability translates over to felxion. At least it does on my body. But I'm with you on not needing flexion. It might be a movement you need a little in the beginning, but I don't really do it now.

In most circumstance I don't think you have to isolate it at all. But if you have a good leg routine, and you are at least somewhat advanced this test should be no problem.

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Post by Peter Rouse » Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:03 pm

Ironman wrote:Oh yea, I remember that in another thread. I remember I was supposed to look at this interview that time, however it didn't say anything about it.

I read it. You go to amazon, look up the author, click on the book. Then on the look inside thing search for EMG. Then you can select 78. This will let you read 78 and 79, which has the table on them.

This study did not test squats or deadlifts. there was "lifting a load" both light and heavy. But we don't know where it was being lifted from. Besides that you will get different results between barbell and dumbbell lifts, or back and front squats. This study only seems to indicate which body weight core exercises are more effective. This book is also clearly aimed at rehabilitation and not the general training population. There was an article posted here just recently showing how big a difference that can make.

Here are 2 links to a study supporting the standard deadlift and the back squat. One is easier to read. But the second one has more detailed information.

http://michaelreid.typepad.com/michaelr ... nal-e.html

http://dialnet.unirioja.es/servlet/arti ... go=2499908

That doesn't test the front squat. We know that moving the load forward changes emphasis from lower back to abs. So while we don't know the magnitude of difference, we can conclude the front squat will work the abs even more than the back squat.
the lift was the deadlift

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Post by frogbyte » Mon Mar 09, 2009 6:23 pm

It's perhaps counterintuitive but there definitely is some significant ab stabilization in the deadlift for me. When I got feedback on my last routine and all the smith-haters spoke up, I switched to free weights and notice it much more (even at significantly lower weight.) With the smith not requiring balance, it's not there.

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Post by Jungledoc » Mon Mar 09, 2009 10:13 pm

It's not counterintuitive. Tight abs is part of good, basic DL technique. If abs (and the rest of the core) don't tighten, what is to stabilise the lumbar spine? The erectors? Well, they are actually part of the core, but by themselves they are pretty small muscles. If you don't consciously tighten your abs and back before DLing, you're in for back pain. I learned that the hard way. Well, I knew it, but I would DL without really being focused and paying attention to this. Weeks of back pain made me get serious about it. When I DL, that is the last item on my mental "checklist". While I'm lifting, it feels like its the core that's driving the lift. I'm conscious mainly of that, and I'm not really conscious of pulling up on the weight. In fact, I feel that focus is so important in the DL, that I'd rather be alone when I do it, even though I'm a very social person, and would usually lift with someone else.

My DL won't impress most people, but it's a lot for an old guy who has been training less than 3 years, and was pretty weak to start with. And I pretty much started over with this lift a year or so ago. Since I recovered from the problem last year, I've taken it to new PRs almost every week, and not a hint of back pain.

By the way, I do some specific core work, mostly isometric.


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Post by Ironman » Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:01 am

Peter Rouse wrote:
Ironman wrote:Oh yea, I remember that in another thread. I remember I was supposed to look at this interview that time, however it didn't say anything about it.

I read it. You go to amazon, look up the author, click on the book. Then on the look inside thing search for EMG. Then you can select 78. This will let you read 78 and 79, which has the table on them.

This study did not test squats or deadlifts. there was "lifting a load" both light and heavy. But we don't know where it was being lifted from. Besides that you will get different results between barbell and dumbbell lifts, or back and front squats. This study only seems to indicate which body weight core exercises are more effective. This book is also clearly aimed at rehabilitation and not the general training population. There was an article posted here just recently showing how big a difference that can make.

Here are 2 links to a study supporting the standard deadlift and the back squat. One is easier to read. But the second one has more detailed information.

http://michaelreid.typepad.com/michaelr ... nal-e.html

http://dialnet.unirioja.es/servlet/arti ... go=2499908

That doesn't test the front squat. We know that moving the load forward changes emphasis from lower back to abs. So while we don't know the magnitude of difference, we can conclude the front squat will work the abs even more than the back squat.
the lift was the deadlift
Well the book didn't say that. Plus the other study has very different results, so I don't think it could be. It's not like you were there, so you have the same information I do.

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Post by KPj » Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:49 pm

Thought I would bump this back up, after reading this article on t-nation, Myth Busters Vol 2.

http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_art ... ters_vol_2

Mike Boyle discusses the "myth" that says - you only need squats and DL's for your 'core'. It's not really anything new, but, as always, he explains it very well (i think, anyway).

Also, not really related, but I personally had a huge smile on my face on the Box Squat one by Dave Tate, and again by Mike Boyle, the "don't static stretch before training" thing.

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Post by Ironman » Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:46 pm

That's not much to go on. He says that he "thinks" you need more than unilateral training. Well I think you don't. It doesn't mean anything though, other than he thinks one thing and I think another. That's totally irrelevant to anything other than our individual thought processes.

If you want to get better at an activity, you have to do the activity. Other than that, there is no evidence. Plus if that is what you are talking about, EMG is irrelevant to the discussion. It has nothing to do with the neural part of it. So it doesn't prove what exercises make you better at doing anything. It only proves where you get the most muscle fiber activation.

You know what woddchippers make you better at doing? woodchippers. Or an identical movement. Planks make you better at planks. Gymnastics makes you better at gymnastics. Now every activity you do like that will have practical applications in life, but like I said that's any and every activity you do. It doesn't mean it is better at making you do anything other than the activity you are doing.


Now if you make a muscle bigger or stronger, it is bigger or stronger no matter what. Now granted if you want to use that strength in an activity, you have to be able to do that activity. But you won't be gaining any strength from doing it. You have to practice whatever activity it is x amount to get x amount of skill. When you get to the point where you can use all your strength in the manner of the activity in question, it will be the amount of strength you have that determines the fore you can generate.

So I still see no argument, even a really weak one, that even halfway proves you need anything but squat and deadlift variations including single limb. Then if you play a sport, you do have to play your sport and probably train individual components of it. Like if your sport involves running, you have to do some running and so on.

Most people are trying to get bigger, stronger or lose fat. I don't see how it translates over to any of those things. Yet it seems to be in most workouts. All because people are obsessed with abs. That and people seem to think the neural gains that allow you to move a certain way with greater ease, are the same as neural gains that allow increase muscle fiber recruitment. The first has to more to due with the development of the motor areas of the brain, while the latter is the efficiency of your motor neurons. They are completely different and you don't generally get them at the same time. An example would be learning a particular lift. You have to learn it, before you can use it to get stronger. Until you get good at doing it, you can't even get close to your current max with it. But depending on what other lifts you having been doing and how strong you are, you will have a different starting point once your brain knows hot to do it.

So I really think people are just getting things mixed up. Plus many get muscle size mixed up with that too.

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Post by KPj » Thu Mar 12, 2009 4:31 am

hmmm...

I don't really know what you're getting at. I'm not talking about ab exercises, or what activates them most or what doesn't. So, yes, EMG studeis are completely irrelevant to my post. I posted because it was a coincidence that the same topic got brought up, and by a reputable coach, more of an 'FYI'.

It's cleary touching a nerve, though.

A friend of mine, and trainer, is about 230 lbs, 5'10, quite cut, big legs and 'core'. You know what, he doesn't do ANY bilateral squats or Deadlifts (he can't). It was all built through years of single leg training and 'core' training. Does that mean Squats and Deadlifts are a waste of time? Of course not, even he wouldn't tell you that.

Just because people get results, doesn't mean everything they do is correct.

I think "weighted decline sit ups" (and similar) are a complete waste of time. I know i'm getting pretty strong without doing any of that. And you think resisting rotation/movement (planks, pallof press, chops etc ?) are a waste of time, and probably because you've not had any problems, and a well developed core, and you've never done any of that. It's ok to agree to disgree, ya know.

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Post by Ironman » Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:23 am

Well I don't know what to say. I argue one side and you basically say it's a straw man, so I argue the other and you say it's a straw man, then I go back to the first.

Do I talk about the brain and nervous system or point at Andy Bolton? I no longer isolate abs at all and I haven't seriously worked them in a long time. In fact if I was going to try to get bigger, I would limit my squats and deadlifts and throw in more leg press and leg curls and wear a belt (all things I am normally not into), just to keep my waist and abs from getting any bigger.

If you are talking about muscles, then EMG is relevant and the studies sited don't support your case. If you are talking neural, you either have motor nerve efficiency confused with the brain rewiring itself to be able to do something. Or if you don't have it mixed up, it's a simple matter of whats better. You don't have to do what is better to get results. It helps, but you can get there the hard way too.

One example is bodybuilding. They get huge on a small fraction of their routine and then waste hours of time.

I'm not big on any isolation. I might do one set if it's a "just to be sure" kind of thing. If I do 2 or 3, it can only be because my routine is not really hitting those muscles in other exercises, or the fiber recruitment is low.

But I am not really sure what you are arguing. I think I hit it though. I took at shot at all positions. So just ignore the straw men. I only did it because I can't pick you out from amongst them.

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Post by KPj » Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:54 am

Ironman wrote: If you are talking about muscles, then EMG is relevant and the studies sited don't support your case.
Without looking back over the whole thread, I don't believe I sited any studies. I actually rarely cite studies at all.
Ironman wrote: But I am not really sure what you are arguing. I think I hit it though. I took at shot at all positions. So just ignore the straw men. I only did it because I can't pick you out from amongst them.
Um....OK? I genuinely find it funny that Peter (Rouse) writes imaginery text, and now you're speaking in riddles. Makes for an interesting discussion. Straw men? If that means what I think it means, then that's just a bizarre thing to say, frankly. If i'm misunderstanding you, then I genuinely apologise, but, clearly, I'm more open to other opinions. I'll try things if they make sense, and see what happenes. If I learn something I do doesn't make much sense, I'll drop it, and see what happens. I do thins far differently than I did years ago, and years from now i'm sure there will be a lot I do differently compared to now. It's a natural process, and beats hanging around waiting for studies to tell me what to do. I'm not saying you do that, I know you don't. It's just interesting, I think, when someone gets in an arguement (in this case, about nothing), and becomes obsessed with seeing the raw research. If it bothers you that much, just don't buy into that thought process. There's nothing wrong with disagreeing (although, in this case, I don't whats being argued). Or, read the books or articles from the authors who support it, check their references, and look them up yourself, if it bothers you that much.

I wasn't arguing anything btw. Hence, my confusion. I wasn't talking about 'abs' per se, which I thought was explained a few pages ago. Again, the article came up, relevant to this discussion, so I bumped it back up, as I personally and others probably are going to appreciate the opinion of a reputable coach, too.

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Post by Ironman » Fri Mar 13, 2009 5:23 pm

As for the studies, I thought you were referring to the ones Peter posted. I thought you were taking up his position as well. It looks like I was mistaken about that. It did look like you agreed with him though.

Yea, I think you don't understand the term "straw man". It's nothing offensive or against you in any way. A straw man or straw man argument, is when you misrepresent the opponent's position, usually to make it easier to to argue against. So it seemed like you were implying I was doing that. I was simply assuring you that it wasn't intentional. What you were saying was a little ambiguous at times, so I didn't always get your position right. So in the last post I was just kind of doing something like, if it is this, then my answer is this, if it is that, my answer is that. Just to cover all the positions. Then I just reiterated that I was not sure of your position, but one of my arguments covers it and that the other arguments, which would of course be straw men, are not intentional. In other words letting you know, all the "if you mean this or if you mean that" stuff wasn't intended to misrepresent your position.


Come to think of it. If it wasn't for the e-mail in his profile, I would be unsure that Peter Rouse really is Peter Rouse. I checked out the web site and I came away thinking "wow, this guy's brilliant!". Many of the posts here leave me scratching my head though. But hey everyone is entitled to some eccentricities. I know I have mine too.

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Post by KPj » Mon Mar 16, 2009 4:32 am

I don't really agree or disagree with Peter, to be honest.

I don't do all the other core stuff I do because I believe or don't believe you get more rectus abdominis activation - I just think that line of thinking misses the point. I don't know if Peter is just being controversial or not, but most known coaches who advocate the same stuff rarely, if ever, say, "do some chop variations because X and Y core muscles get better activation than - insert exercise -". It's simply because they believe that's how your core should be trained. Function, and all that stuff.

But anyway, I took what your wrote the wrong way.

My position is - Whilst Squats and DL's are amazing exercises for the core, you should be doing more. I think you should do more because, in my view, the primary function of the core is to resist movement / stablilty, and transfer force, and so this should be trained more specifically. I also believe there's amazing value in training each side of your body separately.

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Post by stuward » Mon Mar 16, 2009 6:02 am

T-nation had an article recently on this subject: http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_art ... ters_vol_2
Myth: Squats and deadlifts are all you need to work your core.
Mythbuster: Mike Boyle

If you look at how the body works, I think any reasonable person would see it's nearly impossible to work the core well enough with exercises like squats and deadlifts. Sure, you could develop the ability to hold heavy loads in place, but it wouldn't transfer over to everyday life, where you have to stabilize your core in a variety of motions.

Those movements change the mechanics of your pelvis completely.

Let's say you have your right foot on the ground, with your left foot stepping forward. Your pelvis is stabilized by your adductors on the inside of your right leg, your gluteus medius on the outside of that leg, and your quadratus lumborum on the left side of your lower back. These all work in unison to keep your pelvis level. It's entirely different when both feet are fixed on the ground and parallel to each other.

And while adding unilateral movements to your training is a step in the right direction, I still think you need some isolation work for your core.

Let's look at it in a different context. Some guys say you don't need to do direct biceps work if you're already doing chin-ups. But I don't think you'll find many bodybuilders who agree with that. They'd say you have to isolate your biceps with specialized exercises, in this case curl variations, and they'd be correct.

Same goes for the core. I think you need to isolate those muscles, as long as it's the right kind of isolation, like planks and ab-wheel rollouts.

So, getting back to the myth, pulling a lot of weight off the floor, or putting it on your back, will certainly develop functional strength. But it only applies to your ability to support that load in a bilateral stance. If your goal is to put those muscles in motion, you need to do more than squats and deadlifts.

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Post by Ironman » Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:31 am

Yea KPJ posted that. I responded above. I am still trying to figure out where these supposed improvements happen. They have to happen somewhere. It can't just be mysterious core magic. It's muscles, neural pathways or the motor area of the brain. Is there something else I am missing?

For muscles and nerves recruiting them, we know squats and deadlifts are the best for that area.

The brain is the only place it is going to do something different. That is just because it is a different movement. It's like the concept of doing your sport to get better at it. I already said I can see that if that is a movement you are doing. So certain movements would have application in certain sports. But aside from sports training I don't see the value.

So we have 4 possible answers to this. They are false, false, limited application or true because I missed something.


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