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Best Moves for the Core

Q: What are the best exercises for the lower back, glutes and abs?

A: This really is a very subjective question that will differ from athlete to athlete based on individual mobility, strength and performance goals. Many coaches like to prescribe special exercises for these bodyparts that are valid only for athletes who are already doing squats and deadlifts. There are many more, and a complete answer would require more space than I have here.

Suffice it to say that if you are not squatting and deadlifting heavy weights on a regular basis, then whatever low-back, glute and/or abdominal training you’re doing is probably a waste of time. If you are already squatting and deadlifting, you may add carry exercises of various sorts, such as a heavy farmer’s walk or unevenly weighted carries. That’s keeping it simple, but it’s effective, as functional movements like those are taxing and very conducive to building and maintaining strong muscles.

For instance, you can get more complex with reverse hyperextensions, planks, levers, flags, cleans, snatches and the various offshoots of the classic Olympic lifts.

In closing, if you’re doing crunches and angled hyperextensions alone for abs, erectors and glutes, you’re probably wasting your time.

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