I recently wrote a number of brief “ab” training articles for MuscleMag.com. They are a series of pieces that explain some of my favorite go-to movements. This one talks about ‘stir the pots’ and the importance of anti-rotation.

The “core”, “trunk”, “torso”, “belly”, “stomach”, “abs”, “6-pack”… The terminology alone confuses me. It would seem, somewhere along the way, the definition of one’s core has gotten lost in translation. Every time I hear someone say,  “it’s time to work the core,” and then see them lie on the floor and begin crunching away for endless reps, I want to jump out of a window. Thankfully, there is a better way.

One general definition I like is – Muscles and structures that support and stabilize the pelvis, spine, and shoulders. It’s everything but our limbs as some folks like to say. I’d have to refer back to my anatomy textbooks to confirm it, but I’m certain then that this involves more than just our 6-pack. It’s this definition that makes exercises like squats, deadlifts, pushups and pull-ups all excellent “core” movements. It’s also this definition that makes lying down and pulling on the back of your head to facilitate cervical and thoracic flexion not my idea of healthy “core” work.

Alternative Movements
Now that I’ve briefly expressed my dislike for crunches, I’d like to offer a number of effective, efficient, and challenging alternatives that will produce results. These will all be crunch-free and will still target the core muscles in a functional manner. This first one is called, “Stir The Pots” and it is traditionally performed with a stability ball. I first learned about this exercise from Dr. Stuart McGill, a professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo.

READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE (or click the image)

stirpot1

ball stir the pots

About Doug Balzarini
Doug Balzarini, CSCS, MMA-CC, is the owner of DB Strength, which provides fitness training, education, and resources. He is also the strength and conditioning coach for Alliance MMA where he works with UFC Champion Dominick Cruz, Bellator Champion Michael Chandler, Phil Davis, Brandon Vera, Travis Browne, Ross Pearson, Alexander Gustafsson, and more. Prior to starting his own business, Doug worked at Fitness Quest 10 as a personal trainer, strength coach, and Operations Director for Todd Durkin Enterprises (TDE). 

He has completed some graduate work in Biomechanics at SDSU and has obtained multiple certifications including ACE, NSCA-CSCS, MMA-CC, TFW Level 1, TRX instructor training, RIP training, EFI Gravity instructor training, LIFT Sandbag Certification, and FMS training. He has produced his 2 DVD projects on strength training for combat athletes, appeared in many fitness videos and articles, and was a coach on “The Ultimate Fighter” FOX TV show in 2012.

For more information please visit www.dbstrength.com.