Core Training Done Safely

At First Capital Gym, we spend a lot of time doing core training. However, since 2010, we have not had one our members perform a crunch or twist. Those were outdated exercises then and definitely now. We look at training the core for core stability, or being able to create movement with the arms and legs with little to no movement of the spine or pelvis. It has worked wonders for our members, especially ones who previously suffered from back pain.

So why don’t we perform sit up, crunches, and twists? To be honest, it could be dangerous. According to Stu McGill, one of the top spine experts in the world, says that disc herniation appears to be associated with fully flexing the spine for repeated or prolonged periods of time, like a crunch. As far as exercises like twists, world renowned Physical Therapist Shirley Sahrmann stated, “rotation of the lumbar spine is more dangerous than beneficial and rotation of the pelvis and lower extremeties to one side while the trunk remains stable or is rotated to the other side is particulary dangerous.” When some of the top people in their profession tell us this, we listen.

You might be wondering, if I can’t do these exercises, how do I train my core? That’s what most of our newer members ask us. To help you better understand, we break our core training down into 2 sections. Training that prevents flexion/extension of the spine and rotation. In each training session at First Capital Gym, we will perform 1-2 exercises per each movement.

In the next few weeks, we’ll show you some examples of how you can incorporate safer core training in your workouts. To start off, we’ll show you some variations of an exercise where you’re trying to prevent rotation of the spine. Some people call it a Pallof Press but we call it an Anti -Rotation Press. Check out the variations below:

Tall Kneeling Stance

Half Kneeling Stance

Split Stance


At First Capital Gym, we look at doing 2-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions per set.  When you pick the right weight, this is an extremely hard exercise that you’ll feel in your obliques (side).