Complete Core Questions

I’ve been getting some great questions from viewers of Complete Core and, figured the best way to answer was via a blog post.

1. Recently I was in a seminar by a good physiotherapist. She told us that we can’t make the little core muscles stronger (i.e. multifidus) like the big ones (i.e. rectus abdominis, oblique). But we can make them more skillfull, so they could know when to swicth on and off. That is what she called stability. And she said it is a great way to use unstabile surfaces like big balls. For example lie on a big ball with the stomach and raise the left leg and right arm. In the “What is the core” video you seemed to don’t like the use of balls. What is your opinion on this?
A- We don’t use the stability ball much any more. I think we can do the same quadruped type exercises without the ball and, the effect will be far more “real world”. I think if you look at the quadruped section you can see that core stability ( in my opinion) is being able to move the hips or shoulders without the spine compensating. I’m not sure if the addition of the stability ball helps.
2. I think I have a good book for you. When you mentioned swimming under the pool I thought you might want to read this.
Patrick McKeown – The Oxygen Advantage
This is a revolutionary book about nose breathing and CO2 tolerance. I use this on myself and clients and have big results. Better recovery (short and long term), health and mental fitness. I think you can use this with your athletes too.
A- I’ll check it out. I think we are going to see much more interest in how we breath over the next few years. That is why I spent so much time on it. I was completely wrong about breathing and readily admit it.
3. I know that sit-ups and crunches are bad for the spine, but I didn’t know that leg raises were bad. Are leg raises, L-sit holds and hollow body holds bad for our spine or do they just not help build a better core?
 So my question is am I hurting my people with these exercises or do these exercises not help them to achieve  better core mechanics?
A- I’ll answer 3 and 4 together below as they are related. 
4. Also I think you mentioned (57:50 in the video) that we would never do hanging leg raises in a functional way. But when you climb a rope while using your legs, I think you do the a hanging leg raise. You have a high grip, then you raise your legs as high as possible, hook the rope with your legs, you “squat up” with your legs and then re-grip again higher. Also it is true that when you rope a climb like this you don’t raise your extended legs just your flexed legs.
A- I am not a fan of leg raises. As I mentioned in the video I’m not a fan of long lever hip flexion. With the exception of punters in American football, divers and gymnasts, very few people will use long lever hip flexion. I have also found that those with longer legs can get back pain from hip flexor oriented leg work. I think if your athletes climb ropes, they might need that function?
5. I would like to ask if some of the exercises I have used before are healthy or not in your opinion:
Is the Twist holds rotation of the thoracic or the lumbar spine?:

A- Absolutely lumbar. I would never do this under any circumstances. Ask yourself, why you do it?
Same question as above about the Windshield wipers?

A- Another exercise I would put in “silly, waste of time category”. Again, ask yourself “why would I do that “? 
Kettlebell windmills (if the the flexion happens in the hips and not in the lateral flexion of the spine)?

A- I like Steve but, would never do these either. I like them even less with the slam. I guess my question in every case is ” why are you doing this” and ” what do you expect to accomplish”. I think as you view the examples in the program you’ll see that we really cover why, what and how.
Check out Complete Core and see what you think?

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