|While the whiteboard may seem to be a random selection of exercises, there is a method to the madness. Exercise pairings and sequences are strategic, pairing opposite muscle actions and modulating internsities; an attempt at having you recovered for the more technical exercises and fatigued for ones that drive muscle growth. The stations typically pair a horizontal pressing and pulling motion or a quad exercises (Step-ups, Squats, Lunge) with a posterior chain exercise (Hamstring Curl, Glute Bridge, Good Mornings).
Because of this, my options are limited when it comes to some stations. That’s why you see a Dumbbell or Bench Press frequently paired with Seated Cable Row. I could replace the latter with a Barbell Bent over Row but that exercise has a much higher technical demand (maintaining a proper hinge and bar path of the row).
So my thought process weighs the “pros” and “cons” of different variations. For example, why are we doing a Seated Cable Row instead of a Bird Dog Renegade Row.
Seated Cable Row
- Very little attention has to be paid to positioning
- Ability to be loaded more heavily and target the back musculature
Bird Dog Renegade Row
- High demand on core position and stability
- Not able to load as heavily and therefore unable to overload the back musculature to the same degree
Either point isn’t necessarily a positive or negative but rather a piece of the puzzle of the entire workout. If the previous station had Assault Bike, Sleds, a hard bout on the Rowing Machine, etc. I may not give you a Bird Dog Renegade Row because the fatigue from the previous station will negatively impact your ability to maintain core stability and balance.
While this requires a post in ot itself, below is my attempt at explaining how I approach core training. Russian twists, sit-ups, and other exercises that cause your abs to “burn” may have a place but as it relates to lower back pain and the ability to carry heavy objects, run injury-free, etc. your intent should be to resist motion.
Therefore, core work should train the “anti’s”. What exactly does this mean? You have exercises geared towards preventing rotation of the spine (anti-rotation), exercises aimed to prevent arching of the lower back (anti-extension), and exercises that challenge your ability to prevent bending (anti-lateral flexion). While they may not elicit the same “burn” effect of dozens of sit-ups, crunches, and twists, the carry-over to a healthy body is significantly greater.