In this article, you will learn about a six-week core training program that is supported by research to increase passive core stiffness. As explained by the great Stuart McGill, improving core stiffness can help with the ability to transfer force and can enhance the amount of load the spine can handle. Both of these attributes can improve an individual’s athleticism and overall performance with any task!
Sample Core Training Program
An article by Benjamin C. Y. Lee and Stuart M. McGill in 2015 compared a long-term dynamic (i.e., curl up) vs. isometric (i.e., plank) core training program. A six-week core training program consisting of isometric exercises was superior to dynamic core exercises in enhancing core stiffness. Below you will find videos of the exercises in the core training program broken down into 3 phases.
Six Week Core Training Program Phase One
The video demonstrates week 1️⃣ & 2️⃣ exercises from the program.
Plank ‼️Transition Not Included In Article But Worth The Challenge‼️
Modified Torsional Buttress
Modified Side Plank
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Six Week Core Training Program Phase Two
The video demonstrates weeks 3️⃣ & 4️⃣ of the program.
Anterior Pallof Press
Posterior Pallof Press
Anti-rotation Pallof Press
Want More Core Work? Try These Exercises!
Six Week Core Training Program Phase Three
The video demonstrates week 5️⃣ & 6️⃣ exercises from the program.
Kettlebell Unilateral Rack Walk
Swiss Ball Stir The Pot
TRX Inverted Row
Half-kneeling Wood Chops
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Why Does Core Stiffness Matter?
Here is an excerpt from the article that greatly summarizes why core stiffness matters.
“In essence, when sufficient core stiffness is lacking, athlete movement becomes inefficient and manifested by performance decrements and can increase injury risk. Many athletic tasks involve stability in the frontal and transverse planes; consider a football player who sprints 5 yards forward and powerfully cuts left. If lateral core stiffness is insufficient, energy leaks causing buckling at the torso compromise speed and increase known injury mechanisms of spine bending under load (28) and knee valgus buckling (20).”
You could argue weight lifting exercises activate the core. However, traditional barbell exercises such as the squat and deadlift are sagittal plane dominant exercises. The authors of this article support the notion that this core training program is better at creating 3-dimensional spinal stability. Also, due to the fact this core training program is mostly body-weight exercises, the amount of external load volume on the body is minimal compared to traditional weight lifting. The authors suggest this core training program is an excellent mid-season option for athletes to perform on training days and during their pregame warm-ups in an effort to reduce the risk of injuries!
We hope that you have taken away some great principles you can integrate into your core training to maximize your performance. If you are looking for something more comprehensive, be sure to check out of Core Performance Program below!
Take Your Core Performance To The Next Level
The outcome of a great core program is NOT a 6-pack but it if does happen we are sure you wouldn’t be upset! The core should be thought of as both a dynamic suitcase and an energy transfer center. The goal is to build a rock-solid suitcase for each aspect of the core and to improve its ability to transfer energy to and from the legs and arms.
Craig is a South Jersey native & Penn State Kinesiology Alumni. When the opportunity came, Craig packed his bags and drove to California to pursue his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Southern California. With [P]rehab, Craig oversees all digital content creation and multi-channel publication that reaches millions of people on a weekly basis. As a PT, Craig has a wide array of experience from working with various neurological conditions to working with collegiate & professional athletes across the Big Five in North American sports. Experiencing physical therapy first-hand as a soccer player in high school, Craig has a passion & special interest in adolescent athletic development working with young athletes to overcome injuries. In his spare time, Craig enjoys exercising, playing golfing, hiking, traveling, watching Philly sports, and spending quality time with his family.
Disclaimer – The content here is designed for information & education purposes only and is not intended for medical advice.