Inner core unit exercises?? Suggestions

Brett Jones

StrongFirst Director of Education
Master Certified Instructor
Beast Tamer
Strongo - go back and read my posts - lots of info in there
Sean posted about his "working" with people and experience so I simply posted mine- call it whatever you want

Sean - responses in bold

Re: my material, I still have no clue what’s going on anatomy wise with the reverse pigeon stretch that you saw.  It fixed pain below my knee and I showed it to an MS in sports science and it saved her from having knee surgery.  I showed it to Mike hoping it would help him (did it?).  I’m not at all sorry for that and you can bash me all you want I promise I’m not affected by it in the least.  Just like I told you privately, I’m not going around saying I’m an expert on knees.

First with Mike - you tried to "assess" and recommend him exercises off of picture that ended up not even being him
Blind advice is blind - just because someone has a "pain" does not mean what worked for you will work for them
With his structure and individual situation the exercise you recommended would hurt him and me for that matter
your willingness to hop in on injury posts and make recommendations is just part of what proved to be irritating to me - you say you don't claim to be an expert but that doesn't stop you from chiming in and it should
It is irresponsible - as is most of the responses on injury threads all over the internet.
As to what was wrong with the video - it has been a while since I watched it and can't remember all of it - if you send it to me again I will send you a breakdown but it left an impression shall we say...


Now let’s get back to the original question and try it again hopefully this time without you getting emotional (no offense).

Guilty as charged and making no promises


You are saying the L-sit is not an inner unit core exercise but a core exercise.  Can you please explain how this is different.  Would we then say that an L-sit is an “outer core” exercise to distinguish it from an “inner core” exercise such as gentle rolling that you suggested above?  And when we say inner unit here, are we talking about the spine stabilizer transverse abdominus, or something else?  I think of “inner unit” as hitting spine stabilizers to distinguish it from “outer unit” which is the RA that flexes the spine (mover).  Is that wrong?  If you are going to get upset because I’m pushing you on this, I’m sorry but what you are saying does not make any sense to me so I am questioning you about it since you seem to be open to discussing it.

I am getting upset by this because I have already explained this only to have you come back telling me that you disagree and see it "this way" - I've already explained it.
this goes a few different directions - From a very broad perspective the inner unit is considered to be the pelvic floor, diaphragm, multifidus, and TrA and as discussed needs to reflexively active - it is about timing and sequencing beyond just naming the muscles.
So yes "inner unit" is about the "stabilizers" and Outer is about the prime movers - I stated this earlier in a different way and you disagreed with me.


Let’s ASSUME the person knows how to breathe properly.
Again an area you disagreed with until I provided some info


I see what you’re saying about not wanting to equate stability and strength and that it is a big problem in the industry and I know you work hard to fix that (thankfully), I was merely pointing out that the two are in fact related.  Things can be closely related without being the same thing….sorry if that didn’t come out clearly before.

The two are only related in so much as one has to come before the other.  Again stabilizers only need 20-30% of their MVC to stabilize a joint
An example - the Rotator cuff muscles that should fire first and stabilize the shoulder are up against the pec, lat, delt etc... and can never be as strong as those muscles and it doesn't have to be - it only has to fire first.

So yes when you started trying to correct me and inform me on a subject that I know far better than you do I got upset.
I have NO issues with questions and being questioned.  I take issue with being "corrected" by someone that doesn't have the information, background and knowledge to do so.

Al Ciampa

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor

I can't believe that you lasted this long ... kudos to you.

Folks, there is one way to convince yourself that reflexive strength is a different animal (of course, this won't work if you're already reflexively strong):

Spiderman crawl for 100m, slow.  That feeling of suffocation is your lack of reflexive strength.  But do it right - check out the video that Steve Freides posted for me here:

Scroll to bottom.



More than 300 posts
Interesting no one has posted an explanation as to why the L-sit  IS an inner core drill.

I watched that video Al when you posted it in the other thread, and was quite impressed.  He looks literally like a spider ( I think you mention Tim somewhere as the crawler - a coincidence OS author is Tim or? as he is obviously quite the master crawler. )

Al Ciampa

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor

Time yourself in the 100m crawl.  Now, hold an L-sit for the same amount of time.  Wisdom is know yours.

I learned OS from Tim ... "Mike" is our premier crawler.




More than 300 posts
I will Al - yet I reckon just now as a thought experiment,  I could maybe make 10metres (10sec say) crawling yet hold an L-Sit for 30sec - proving the point.

I might get my little <6yr old nephews to give it a crack, reckon they'd be naturals.


More than 300 posts
My conclusion/point is probably not clear : I would be able to, at the moment, hold an L-Sit longer than a crawl as my core strength is greater than my reflexive.   I will do the exp. nevertheless.


Al Ciampa

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
Actually Matt ... it was very clear - your primary core strength compensates for your lack of reflexive strength.


Triple-Digit Post Count
I have to agree  with aciampa, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Having studied anatomy and neuroscience in some depth, I didn't see how something like original strength could be better than my correctives. This forum convinced me to give it a try, while i still see the benefit in correctives, i can't believe how good i move and feel from doing the os resets everyday.

I still lift heavy, but except for a little yoga routine and some correctives, all i do is os resets. They are awesome! I would agree with Bretts sentiments, i didn't know what i didn't know.

Sean, there is no shame in not knowing as much as Brett (he is a wealth of knowledge! I really enjoy the from the ground up and from the center series). And this is America, no one except the government can tell you what you can't put into video. I enjoy your personality in your videos, you're a good presenter, its very relaxing to watch.  Brett has a good point about blind advice, you may want to speak to a lawyer about liability to prevent a future lawsuit.

In any case, I would advise anyone with questions about reflexive strength vs feed forward tension to buy Original Strength and try it for a week, you will instantly understand the difference between the two in a way that words fail to convey.

At least that was my experience, maybe i'm a little thick headed...
Top Bottom