‘Abs’ and Midline Strength

The L-pullup is one of the harder "core" exercises.

The L-pullup is one of the harder "core" exercises.

Desmond makes it look pretty easy.

Desmond makes it look pretty easy.

A woman came in to try a class today at CFWSC. While not CrossFit fit, she obviously spent a bit of time in the gym. Working the air squat with her, I noticed that, while she was able to maintain a lumbar curve, she was leaning pretty far forward. She asked me why she couldn’t keep her upper body more vertical and I replied that the problem was a weak midline or core.

“Weak core”, she sputtered, “I have a strong core” and lifted up her shirt to show me a fairly impressive set of abs. I gently replied that just because she did a lot of crunches didn’t mean that she had a strong midline.

“But look”, she said, and pointed again to her stomach. I briefly explained the difference between truly functional core exercises like the overhead squat, deadlift, and GHD situp and cosmetic ones like the crunch and ab machines.

Of course a picture is worth a thousand words and everything I could say didn’t add up to nearly as much as the simple fact that she couldn’t keep her upper body upright on a squat while other people in the class, all with less of a flat ‘six pack’ than her, could.

So what about ‘abs’? Well, what about them, is usually my reply. When you can overhead squat more than your bodyweight, deadlift twice your bodyweight, and do 20 windshield wipers, your midline will be so strong that you won’t even have the word ‘abs’ in your vocabulary.

What makes a strong midline? Just about everything we do in CrossFit. Deadlift, front squat, press, L-sit, ring work, handstand, snatch. Those are some prime ingredients for midline strength. Mix in the Zone and regular WODs and you will have abs that a beer store will envy.

What movements make your ‘abs’ the most sore?

And don’t forget about Kyle’s birthday workout at 4PM. I hope to see everyone there.


5 rounds

10 Overhead Squats 135/85#

10 GHD situps

10 Windshield Wipers

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