• Daniel Braun

Podcast Notes: The Best Exercises for your Core

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In this episode of the Brawn Body Podcast, I am joined by Erik Caplan, BSc, CSCS, SPT, to discuss the best exercises for your core! For more on Erik, check out his Instagram @erikscottcaplan or his LinkedIn here.

In this episode, we reviewed:

  • Core anatomy

  • Should I train my core directly?

  • Best core exercises

  • How to program core exercises effectively

And more!

Below are notes about each section

Anatomy of the core

  • Rectus Abdominis

  • Connect to symphysis pubis to sternum

  • “6 pack”

  • Flexor of the trunk, posterior pelvic tilt

  • IO/EO

  • Attach to TL fascia and run across at angle

  • Side flexion, rotation, anti-rotation, bracing (tighten the TL fascia, internal corset with TA), synergist with FLX, posterior pelvic tilt

  • Transversus Abdominis

  • Attach to TL fascia and runs directly across

  • Major bracer (Take a punch!), internal corset

  • Erector Spinae

  • Iliocostalis, Longissimus, Spinalis

  • Iliac crest to ribs, entire spine, and skull

  • EXT spine, anterior pelvic tilt, SF, contralateral ROT of pelvis, ipsilateral spine ROT

  • Quadratus Lumborum

  • Iliac crest to upper 4 Lumbar vertebrae and rib 12

  • SB, contralateral pelvic ROT, Lumbar EXT, anterior pelvic tilt, stabilize pelvis and lumbar spine in ALL planes

  • Lumbar Multifidus and Rotatores (paraspinals in general)

  • Connect TP of vertebrae to SP of superior vertebrae

  • EXT and contralateral ROT of spine

  • *Smaller, but often weaker

  • Importance of scapula in maintaining good core/tight spine

  • Tight lats vs weak lats in deadlift

  • Cues

  • Serape/connections

  • Diaphragm/Pelvic floor

  • Roof/floor analogy

  • Deep inhalation (diaphragm contracts), increases intra-abdominal pressure

  • Tensing pelvic floor increases rigidity

Direct Core Training

  • Are squats/deadlifts/bench press enough for my core?

  • NOT ENOUGH, but MUST be included!

  • Heavy/high weight compound lifts are fundamental for total core development

  • Incorporate bracing/tension throughout all muscles of the core and more

  • EVERYONE should train the core.

  • More and more studies of core training benefits across the board, even in the RTC


Best Core Exercises

  • Dan’s top 3 core exercises

  • Hanging leg raise

  • Hardstyle Abs, Pavel Reference

  • Low reps, slow, lots of tension, progress

  • Hollow body hold/variations

  • Holds with pullover/ball toss

  • Single-arm DB Press with hold (bottom’s up if you’re crazy)

  • Rocking

  • Loaded carries

  • Heavy Farmer’s Carry

  • Unilateral variations: single-arm FW, racked-KB walk, waiter walk, etc.

  • Eriks top 3 core exercises

-Anti rotation/isometrics w/ dynamic movements

*dead bug variations, stir the pot, lateral walks

-Frontal plane stability

*side plank and side plank variations

-Bird dog/bird dog variations


  • Hip flexor dominance

  • Janda sit-up variation (RA specifically)

  • Not all core exercises are created equal… some trigger more core activation than others! Ex. from article below - pike and decline pushup = more core activation than bent-knee situp


  • Grip/tense

  • Squeeze! Tension is key

  • Sets/reps

  • Rest periods

  • Do it all!

  • Core requires a LOT of training of passive, active, and neural control subsystems

In this episode, we referenced the following people and articles

Information in this post is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or condition. Consult your primary care provider prior to making any changes in your diet or lifestyle/exercise habits as discussed.

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