Core strength of elite sprinters.

If you need to avoid it, then wouldn’t you need to avoid all tempo type work?

well, it does take time, and if you have other things to do (work, school etc) you have to kick something out…

though, i have to say, ab work (both dynamic and static) empiricaly is very important to a healthy low back…whenever i avoid abs i end up injuring my self


Charlie can you please elaborate. I’m not sure I understand the question. Thanks.


I just turned your point around beyond their actual role.
If you acknowledge that low-intensity work has a place, why not abs??


This is a ridiculous argument. To think that abdominal work is the key to world-class sprint performance, without crediting the other equally, if not more, important parts of the program (such as the sprinting, the lifting, etc., etc.) is just insane. Odds are if you haven’t been able to find the “secret” core performance exercises, they’re not working as well as you would believe. Fact is, it’s consistent work for power, speed, strength, mobility, abdominals, etc., etc. that is the secret. Some secret, huh?

To be more specific to the actual question asked though, Charlie covers his abdominal training protocols in detail in the GPP DVD and on the Med Ball Workout.

If you want even more info, see Stuart McGill’s text (or go see him in person) “Low Back Disorders” or “Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance”. Both are must-reads.

Ben didn’t seem to need any “Isometric Prone Bridges” or anything else of the sort to use his abdominals in the sprints effectively :slight_smile:

I don’t think anybody is arguing against you use of low intensity abs. They make sense. I know what I do not believe in and most others do not believe in is high intensity abdominal specifc work (ie heavy weighted sit-ups, weighted decline sit-ups, etc.).

hey now, i love my weighted situps i do 500reps with a 100lb db on my tempo days and bar russian twist with 315 on speed days for 250reps

I don’t think anybody is arguing against you use of low intensity abs. They make sense. I know what I do not believe in and most others do not believe in is high intensity abdominal specifc work (ie heavy weighted sit-ups, weighted decline sit-ups, etc.).

yes but, then again, how could you do direct high intencity work for your abs? weighted sit ups or something? You gain a good core by sprinting and squating with a proper progression and you maintain/supplament that with low intencity more “stability” kind of work.

wut is a good exercise for the deep abdominals. I do power breathing which hits my obliques. Crunches i get used to quick and gives me no difference in trunk stability, i still dip in my squats, and do good morning squats when the weight is heavy. The transverse abdominal what hits it HARD, should i do like the rest of the people i see in the gym balancing themselves on a bosu ball and using cables?

If you really think a training emphasis on the TVA is worthwhile remember that the TVA is primarily a muscle of respiration, i.e., breathing. So your power breathing exercises are right on target. Another alternative would be to get down on all fours (quadraped position), take a deep breath and force your stomach OUT, then exhale while contracting your abdominals maximalling. Once the abs are fully contracted, and all air has been expelled, hold this position for a count of 10 while continuing to breath.

I must emphasize however that I don’t believe the TVA, by itself, is going to provide you with the kind of trunk stability your looking for to help you hold posture in the squat. The muscle is simply too small and thin to accomplish that. Rather developing the TVA in conjunction with the muscles of the abdominal wall is necessary. Again the muscles of the abdominal wall are there to provide spinal STABILITY so they should be trained that way. In my view, preferably under load. Using the prone plank as an example (and after mastering the exercise by being able to hold the position unloaded for~60 seconds), load the exercise by having someone put a 25-45 lb. olympic plate over the lumbar and/or thoracic area and hold as long as possible completing 2-3 sets.

Will performing a conventional exercise (say a shoulder press or squat) in an unstable environment develop the TVA? Sure, but so what? Among other things, the topography of any unstable surface employed in the gym (say BOSU ball) won’t remotely resemble the type of unstable surface you’ll potentially encounter in sport. In addition, you won’t be able to use enough load to make the exercise worthwhile for anything other than TVA stimulation and there are better ways to train the TVA (see above). Good luck.

are there to provide spinal STABILITY

yes but not directly, direct spinal stability lies on the rotatores and all those tiny muscles between the vertabrae.

And even so, why would you want to train your abs under load especially when you already sprint in good form, that sould provide enough of a stimulus, no?

I can see it having a place if you want to rehab or prepaire somene to sprint if he has bad form, but not within a sprinters program it would just fry out his CNS resulting possibly in a worce injury by wrong MU firing patterns

i can hold plank position for more then 60 seconds easy. Should i go for 2 mins with two limbs elevated from the ground?

my power breathing is sitting or standing really easy, i just breathe in expanding my stomach not letting my shoulders rise (because it indicates the expansion of the lungs) put my tongue up to the hard palate in my mouth and an breathe out “tsssssss” sound i make. I exhale slowly maximally contracting the stomach, i feel my obliques. Your right the TVA doesnt do it all, i was just wondering if im missing any other things about the abdominal cavity i shuld be worried about. When i maxed RAW on the deadlift i never felt so much pressure on my ab cavity before, i could feel my inside wanting to rip out, and i could feel the obliques wanting to rip out as well… Maybe its just my obliques taht are somewhat weak

I’m curious. Why the aversion to “high intensity” ab work? Is this for the same reason as Charlie, i.e., don’t waste valuable CNS resources on the abs or something else?

u r correct but also the abs role in sprinting is stabilizing action.

Regarding the plank, if you can hold it for 60 seconds try doing the same thing with the abs tightly “braced” whild still breathing. I would’nt go longer than 60 seconds. You can perform the plank with the forearms on a stability ball, or on a stability ball in the push-up position. You can also elevate one leg by extending the appropriate hip, add resistance with an olympic plate as previously mentioned.

You can hit the obliques hard with the "full contact twist, performing reverse crunches, hanging leg lifts (with or without a twist). The reverse crunch will preferentially recruit the external obliques (not the lower abs) as will the hanging leg raise.

Don’t forget about the “side plank”. Once you can hold this exercise for 60 seconds add a dynamic element to it by lowering and raising the body while keeping the body perfectly aligned.

The “full contact twist” might be the most effective exercise as it is ground based (performed in a standing position). I’m sure I missed something but you should have enough options to get started improving your oblique strength.

ut is right. Abs are stabilizers in a sprint. If I am already doing squats, olys, sprints, plyos, medball throws, and low intensity work on top of that, why add more stress? What good is it going to do me? Maybe high intensity ab work has a roll if you are a thrower where the rotational aspect is huge, but I really don’t see the need for a sprinter or most athletes for that matter. You said yourself–you don’t have weak abs if you can full squat 2x your bw without getting crushed.

I agree with you, specifically re: the abs roll as stabilizers, a point I’ve made on this thread. Curiously, what kind of an ab program do you adhere to?

Well I am not under my own training at the moment… that’s what happens if you want to compete for a collegiate team ;).

What I typically do, besides the high intensity work (squats, olys, etc.), generally focuses on isometric work like bridges, pillars, etc. all low intensity, aiming for good stability, etc. I also do classic stuff like crunches, bicycles and a decent amount of medball work like side throws. I like variety and volume with the ab stuff.

what kind of volume on the iso stuff. give us a weekly setup.

4-5x through 30-60secs between sets if you need it to maintain form on these:
Front Bridge 60 secs
L Side Bridge 60 secs
R Side Bridge 60 secs
Dead bug twist iso (10secs each side 3x for 60 secs total)
Supermans x 25

Sometimes I may elevate legs onto a bench, do longer intervals (2mins), have a 45 on my back for the front bridge, etc. For front bridge, I might lift up left arm / right leg and then right arm / left leg, etc. It’s really nothing exciting. Variety and volume. Other things are like what Charlie does in the GPP dvd for ab work.

dead bug twist i forgot what r those