off, let me just start by saying, contrary to
what the title might suggest, this book is NOT
just for the combat athlete - EVERY
type of athlete can benefit from the training
found in this manual!
being said, if you ARE involved in combat sports
such as boxing, (MMA) Mixed Martial Arts, Karate,
Judo, Wrestling, Kickboxing, Filipino Stick Fighting
you know how absolutely CRITICAL
your core is to successfully beating the living
crap out of the other guy (to put it one way).
let's face it
NOBODY joins a boxing club
so they can learn how to score points from the
judges most effectively.
goal is to WIN and leave the other guy lying on the
And to win,
you have to be able to deal a blow and TAKE a blow
at the same time!
But if your
core is weak (or if you just do crunches and leg raises
to work it), you simply will NOT be able to strike with
maximum effectiveness AND you won't be able to take
a punch or kick to the midsection nearly as well.
And if even
you're NOT a combat athlete, you NEED excellent core
strength to hit a basebell over the fence, dynamically
change direction when you've got guys crashing into
you, and even sprint your fastest!
THAT is where
Jim Smith's book "Combat Core" comes
is one of the founding members of the Diesel Crew
- a coaching organization dedicated to improving athletic
performance through highly-targeted training methods.
You'll notice I didn't say "high-tech" training
methods, though. After all, sandbags, tractor tires
and sledgehammers don't exactly fall into THAT category.
here's the deal with "Combat Core"
going to get a TON of exercises. You're going to get
well-grounded background information on the different
levels and types of core training and strengthening.
You're going to get complete programs that teach how
to make best use of the exercises and information.
WON'T get are exercises that you have you standing on
a Bosu ball on one leg catching bean bags or doing the
Karate Kid crane thing (little blast from the past there
- if you're under 30, Google it).
And I'll tell you right now, I really like this book.
It gets right
to the point and is PACKED with useful training info.
It's an excellent manual both for the athlete AND the
coach - doesn't matter which you are, you'll get a lot
out of this.
is not about flash and glamour and getting six-pack
abs (though this type of core training will definitely
give you that). This is about FUNCTION and PERFORMANCE
in the core and I'm a very BIG fan of that.
the book generally comes across as being all about
COMBAT sports - preparing your body for it and making
you BETTER at it - all types of athletes will benefit
Sorry, couldn't resist
including this one!
if you're NOT a combat athlete, the
core strength you will develop from this approach
will DEFINITELY help you on the field. I can't
think of any athlete that wouldn't benefit from
a stronger, more explosive core. Cripes, even
bowling if you can bring yourself to think of
that as athletic.
I mentioned above, Smitty includes excellent background
info on core training and the different levels
and styles of it. You'll learn how to properly
brace your abs (useful in absorbing impacts),
the anatomy of the core and how it all works,
as well as strategies on how to develop core power
from the ground up, even for total beginners.
also included complete programs for maximizing
the progressions from more basic programs and
exercises to the really advanced stuff.
I have to
say, the EXERCISES are where this book really shines.
This is VERY effective stuff...if you have any training
experience, you can tell immediately just by looking
at it. As I was reading through, I was itching to just
go and try all the exercises out!
A lot of
it can be done by beginners but there is a LOT of advanced
stuff. The programs and progressions will help you get
from beginner to advanced.
of the things that jumped out at me in the book was
the simple genius behind some of these drills.
as a drill to teach you how to keep your abs rigid while
breathing, moving and striking (so you can learn how
to simultaneously DELIVER a blow while effectively TAKING
a blow), Smitty will have you carrying a sandbag in
the guard position while doing strikes and catching
even a VERY thorough section on the posterior chain
(the muscles down the back of the body) as relating
to core strength and functional power in combat sports.
some downsides to this book but I have to say, most
of these are actually NECESSARY downsides
them provides maximum usability and effectiveness of
the overall package (you'll see what I mean).
a number of the exercises require some form of specialized
equipment. This includes sandbags, heavy bags, decline
bench, roman chair, thick ropes, tractor tires and sledgehammers.
Without this specialized equipment, you'd be missing
out on a LOT of great training.
Even if you
don't have all this equipment (or even if you just have
some), you'll still get a lot out of this book. Plus,
you'll never look at farm equipment the same way again.
of the exercises also require a partner or a trainer
- for combat sports specifically, which are very reactive,
this is actually quite important (also important for
other sports, such as football, for example). You need
to have that outside influence that a partner or trainer
brings. In shadow boxing, your shadow very rarely hits
back. In REAL combat, the other guy is generally going
to try and take you out just as much as you're trying
to take HIM out.
exercise variations that take this into account is a
theme you'll find throughout "Combat Core."
It's one of the specificity principles that makes this
such a valuable manual for the combat athlete.
athletes such as sprinters, it's all about maximum power
generation. The core is central to this and the rotational
exercises you'll find in the book will really help you
line: if you're involved in ANY combat sports, get
worth it just from the sheer number of exercises and
variations you'll find in it - all well-explained and
demonstrated in pictures. The addition of background
information and programs helps really make this a complete
core-training approach for combat athletes.
you're involved in ANY sports, it's a valuable read,
just from the performance-enhancing aspects of this
type of intense core training.
And if you
just like to try unique, gut-wrenching exercises that
will really shred your abs, you'll love this stuff,
happy with your crunches and leg raises, DO NOT
get this book. It'll kill you.
is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist
and an expert trainer who writes for Men's Fitness and
the Elite Q/A Staff. Jim has been involved in strength
training as a performance enhancement specialist for
over 8 years and has worked with athletes from various
sports who compete at various levels. He has published
articles about his unique training style and innovative
methods for many prominent strength and fitness related
sites. He is also the author of three renowned strength