The Four Stages of Core Training

Your core has two fundamental functions:

1. Keeping your spine safe
2. Helping you perform athletically by efficiently transferring force from Point A to Point B

But until you understand how to train your core effectively, you won’t be able to optimize either.

Here’s a quick primer on how we categorize core training at Bang:

1. Isometric (no movement)
Basic example: a standard plank
Intermediate example: an L-sit (see the last photo)
Advanced example: a planche (imagine a push-up without the feet touching the ground)

2. Quasi-isometric (limbs move but the spine doesn’t)
Basic example: a straight-arm cable pull-down or a strict leg-raise
Intermediate example: a strict ab wheel roll-out (arms move only)
Advanced example: a heavy squat or deadlift (really any loaded exercise)

3. Dynamic (everything moves together – including your spine)
Examples: ballistic toes to bar; an explosive rotational throw (see UFC athlete Elias Theodorou below)

If you’re wondering which type of core training you should use, the answer is all of the above. As soon as you’re ready to, anyway.

You don’t get through level-1 work and then leave it in the dust. Some of the world’s strongest people have learned that. Sometimes the hard way.

There’s one criterion, though. Push things as far as possible BUT only as far as you can still perform beautifully.

If you want to perform something ballistically, you should be able to show Matrix-speed control.

At the same time, if you can only do something well if it’s super-slow, you might need to find a simpler task that you can perform with aggression and power.

Gordon Ramsay is famous for asking potential hires to cook him eggs. Why? Because when we take away all the commotion and complexity of advanced work, the basics should be able to stand on their own.

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