Fitness / Grinds my Gears

Core Strength (why champions don’t wear belts) and other rants

“Beast mode engaged… When did you turn it off?”

-Ryan Doris

The above quote is by a super awesome natural bodybuilder Ryan Doris. He was talking about how he doesn’t like “weekend warriors”. Essentially harking back to (probably misattributed) quote from Aristotle “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

This is how I feel about a lot of things. Why not be awesome always? Why do you need to take an “off” day? This also reminds me of what Dr. Joe Vigil said, “If you are going to eat today, you run today”. Running is kind of lame, but when a dude is hardcore we all should take notice.

You shouldn’t need a pre-workout supplement to kill it in the gym. You shouldn’t need someone to tell you good job. You should do these things because if you don’t… you suck and you should just cease your existence now. Even Sisyphus is still killing it and he has all the time in the world.

If he’s happy, you should be too

If he’s happy, you should be too

Hell! I squat EVERYTIME I go into the gym, and I know people that dare to tell me that they “don’t train legs” or that squats are “bad for your knees”. The world is full of weak people that wouldn’t last a minute back in the Stone Age. Your ancestors would be so disgraced that they would let a saber tooth tiger eat you just to get your dysgenic self out of the gene pool.

Kitty is hungry

Kitty is hungry


Hopefully only the strong willed of you survived that rant, the main thing I wanted to talk about here is strengthening of “core” muscle, the things associated with it, and why it is an absurd waste of time.

This already looks stupid

This already looks stupid

To preface this I must explain that recently I performed the Sahrmann Core stability Test, and I did horribly on it. I looked like one of those long limbed children that haven’t figured out how to properly move because they are growing too fast and they have no coordination.  Believe it or not this is actually a well-validated test to assess core strength in (and I will emphasize this point) CLINICAL POPULATIONS. And, unless I have diabetes and don’t know it, I’m probably healthy enough.

I know I’m a little late on the core stability trend, but more people need to be aware how stupid it actually is. My argument will NOT be backed up by peer reviewed research even though it is out there (just go to google scholar) but it will be mostly ad hominem, which after a while we all get disillusioned by science and revert back to our more base instincts.

I’ll just be up front. I don’t do any ab or core work, but I have a six pack year round. I’m sure there are at least ten thousand blogs about how “abs are made in the kitchen” or some other crap. Now, I agree that the premise of that is true. I also ate half a gallon of ice cream last night (and the day before) and my abs aren’t going anywhere, but I’ll leave that for a more nutrition oriented post.

Really one of my main problems in terms of performance are those guys who actually squat (probably not deep enough) or deadlift and will say weak stuff like “I only put on my belt after I get past 225, 315” or some other arbitrary number. Now to be fair there are some who won’t put it on until they work up to 80-90% of their max, this is more logical to me, but why don’t you just NOT PUT ON THE BELT!

Actually see what you can do for once. There is a little bit of a silent “war” between equipped and unequipped powerlifters and I tend to not side with anyone because they are two different things, however to people not in the sport it is SUPER CONFUSING!

For example, one of my students found out that I do powerlifting competitions (notice I didn’t say the I’m a powerlifter) and he proceeded to ask me how much I squatted or benched. After I was done talking, he bragged about how he did just that much (if not more) than that at a competition in high school. I normally allow people to get away with that kind of insolence, but I guess my testosterone is up from actually eating. I went on to tell him that he is certainly mistaken because I actually just broke the AMERICAN RECORDS. He quickly recanted and said he must remember the weights incorrectly, but the thing is he probably does remember them right. He just neglected to say that he was wearing a squat suit and bench shirt.

Back to the CORE issues

See what I did there? I know, I should kill myself…

Why should we rely on things to brace our back, why don’t we just get a stronger back! In the movie The 13th Warrior Antonio Banderas is given s sword by a Viking and says the Sword is too heavy… The Viking without missing a beat replies “Then grow stronger”. What ever happened to that mentality?

I don’t think that he ever did

I don’t think that he ever did

In short, man-up or if you’re a lady there is nothing saying that you must be weak… NOTHING.

Boudica never wore a belt for her squats.

Boudica never wore a belt for her squats.

Maybe one day we’ll evolve into the great wise warrior society that we were meant to be, but I’m not holding my breath. Until then…

Be awesome



MYSELF… Did you out lift most of America without a belt, on a lame vegetarian diet, and weighing 146 lbs. (the equivalent of a normal sized woman)?

No? Well I guess I’m a damn authority


4 thoughts on “Core Strength (why champions don’t wear belts) and other rants

  1. 2 things: First, I think Sisyphus’ existence is arguably pretty miserable. Second, I think you having a 6 pack year round can probably be attributed to your (awesome) genetics. I, for one, only get a 6 pack when I include targeted core work and eat completely clean.

    • I agree, but read The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus and it may change your opinion on how miserable his life is. I also agree that I must have pretty good genetics, but if anyone squatted with the frequency that I do (without a belt) and ate in a similar manner they’d probably walk around (at the very least) a lot leaner than they are.

      • I will check it out. And also I realized my reply was mainly critiques; I did enjoy the article and there were definitely a lot of good points made.

  2. Pingback: Powerlifting and Injuries: How to Not Break Yourself | Barbell Nation

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