Skip to product information
1 of 2

Human Kinetics

Conditioning to the Core

Regular price $25.95 USD
Regular price $27.95 USD Sale price $25.95 USD
Sale Sold out
Shipping calculated at checkout.

In Conditioning to the Core, strength and conditioning coaches Greg Brittenham and Daniel Taylor deliver the definitive guide to training the torso. Inside, you’ll learn these concepts:

  • The core’s central role in originating and transferring strength and power, two requirements for superior performance
  • The energy systems, the strength and power foundations, and the movement mechanics for any sport
  • Over 300 of the most effective exercises for strength, stability, and power
  • The way to design a comprehensive program based on athlete assessment and analysis, followed by several sport-specific sample programs for reference

Additional Book Information

Book Description

Condition the core; unleash the potential.

Serious athletes train for results—results that make them winners on the field, pitch, course, or court. And the key to getting those results, to improving performance in any sport and at any level, is no secret. A strong, well-conditioned core is the lynchpin to athletic success.

In Conditioning to the Core, strength and conditioning coaches Greg Brittenham and Daniel Taylor deliver the definitive guide to training the torso. Inside, you’ll learn these concepts:

- The core’s central role in originating and transferring strength and power, two requirements for superior performance

- The energy systems, the strength and power foundations, and the movement mechanics for any sport

- Over 300 of the most effective exercises for strength, stability, and power

- The way to design a comprehensive program based on athlete assessment and analysis, followed by several sport-specific sample programs for reference

Detailed photo sequences and expert instruction ensure you’re performing each exercise safely and efficiently. Color-coded stability, strength, and power training exercises, programs, and assessments provide all the tools for achieving high-performance goals. You will quickly identify and organize each component that addresses your needs, your sport, and your high-performance goals.

If you are serious about performance, Conditioning to the Core will help you get serious results. Whether you’re an athlete, trainer, or coach, this guide should be the centerpiece of your sport training program.

Table of Contents

PART I Core Benefits

Chapter 1. Key Sports Performance Factor

Chapter 2. Anatomical Lynchpin

Chapter 3. Injury PreventerReduction

Chapter 4. Strength and Power Source

Chapter 5 Exercise Selection and Training Considerations

PART II Core Stabilization Training

Chapter 6. Anti-Eextension Exercises

Chapter 7. Anti-Rotation Exercises

Chapter 8. Scapulothoracic Exercises

Chapter 9. Lumbo-Ppelvic Hip Exercises

PART III Core Strength Training

Chapter 10. Anti-Eextension Exercises

Chapter 11. Anti-Rrotation Exercises

Chapter 12. Scapulothoracic Exercises

Chapter 12. Lumbo-Ppelvic Hip Exercises

Chapter 14. Total Core Exercises

PART IV Core Power Training

Chapter 15. Anti-Eextension Exercises

Chapter 16. Anti-Rotation Exercises

Chapter 17. Lumbo-Ppelvic Hip Exercises

PART V Core Testing and Program Design

Chapter 18. Core Assessment Tools

Chapter 18. Complete Core Program

Chapter 20. Advanced Core Programs

Chapter 21. Sport-Specific


Greg Brittenham served as assistant coach for player development and team conditioning with the New York Knicks for 20 years before taking on the position of director of athletic performance for men's and women's basketball at Wake Forest University before the 2011-12 season. He was also the director of the Center for Athletic Performance at the National Institute for Fitness and Sport. In addition to NBA players, he has advised and trained athletes in the NFL and Major League Baseball and world champions in Olympic sports such as gymnastics and cycling.

Brittenham’s training regimens for improving overall athletic ability have made him a popular speaker and demonstrator at clinics and conferences worldwide. He authored Complete Conditioning for Basketball (Human Kinetics, 1995) and coauthored Stronger Abs and Back (Human Kinetics, 1997) with his father, Dean Brittenham, a pioneer in the field of strength and conditioning.

Daniel Taylor, MS, PES, CSCS is the head strength and conditioning coach at Siena College and oversees those efforts for all 18 Division I varsity programs at the college, as varied as water polo and lacrosse. He has trained athletes who have advanced to the professional level in soccer, lacrosse, baseball, and basketball. Taylor was part of Siena men's basketball's historic 3 championships in a row (2008-2010) that led to two first round wins in the NCAA tournament (2008 and 2009).

Taylor previously worked with men's and women's basketball at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York and with the New York Knicks Training Camps. He has been a speaker at numerous clinics and workshops in the northeast geared to high school through college level athletes. Originally from North Yorkshire, England, he now resides in Scotia, New York.


A stable, strong, and powerful core lasts a lifetime. Core efficiency is not a passing fad or something that needs to be trained only while actively involved in sport. Core efficiency is an essential part of a weekly routine that will enhance your daily quality of life for years to come. With this in mind, we have developed a core program that is functionally cyclical - and without a conclusion. After establishing a starting point through the assessment protocols in chapter 18, the workouts begin at a predetermined point, but as you move steadily through each phase, you will never reach an end point. In fact, given the space limitations, hundreds of possible core exercises have been intentionally omitted from this text. Not to worry: Even if you burn through all of the drills presented in the previous chapters, the concepts and guidelines described in these following pages will certainly apply to your program design regardless of the source of the exercises you choose to incorporate. Exercise selection, load, reps, sets, temporal considerations, intensity, duration, and frequency can all be manipulated in a progressively challenging system - forever.

The concept of a cyclical program might seem strange and is perhaps unfamiliar or uncomfortable for some. The truth is, you will never really be able to fully exhaust your ability or variable options during each phase. As you move through the stability phase and become more efficient at controlling your body, you will see improvements both physically and posturally, and also from a performance perspective. After four to six weeks and a successful follow-up retest, you will begin the strength portion of the training regimen. Although some stability-based components appear in these exercises, they are designed primarily to improve the overall strength of the musculoskeletal system. As you progress through the four to six weeks of this strength-focused phase, you will recognize improvement in several areas. Next, you move on to the power phase, in which the focus is almost entirely based on developing, commanding, and using speed.

Upon completion of these initial three phases, you will then cycle back to a stability phase. Since the training focus over the past two to three months shifted in each of the successive phases, returning to stabilization will ensure continued maintenance of this critically important dynamic functional quality. As you start to organize your second round through all of the phases (beginning with stability-based training), it is important to add variety with regard to the above-mentioned variables (exercise selection, reps, sets, intensity, etc.). This will ensure progressive adaptation. An example might be shifting from straightforward, ground-based elbow plank activities, which you will have mastered during your first stability sequence, to progressively more challenging exercises such as a stability ball elbow plank or other unstable and asymmetrical stabilization choices. Remember, this same conceptual protocol will be applied through the strength and power phases as well. Pay close attention when selecting exercises. For example, if you were overly challenged with a simple ground-based elbow plank, it would not be prudent to select a highly challenging unstable drill for the second go-around. As you become more and more familiar with the exercises in the book you will become adept at choosing those drills with a similar intensity. Not only does the body adapt more readily to drill variety, but it will also avert boredom.

In each of the exercise chapters (6 through 17), there are logical progressions in addition to judicious regressions to aid you in this adaptive process. You can choose to follow the exercises as outlined in this book, or as your understanding of the program concepts and confidence with the methodology expands, you can select additional exercises, including some we have not presented in this book.

View the phases that follow as a spectrum of progressiveness: proximal to distal, slow to fast, stable to unstable, load absent to load present. In other words, move from low classification to highly concentrated intensities. The program phases will be systematic and developmentally efficient. Variables that will be manipulated include exercise selection, body positioning, load considerations, planes of movement, intensity, frequency, and duration. Progression will be predicated on previous successes (primarily with exercise performance accuracy) and periodic testing. Finally, the phases follow a global functioning perspective with regard to the entire muscle contraction continuum (force reduction, isometric and force production). Regardless of the exercise selection, unloaded or loaded, stable or unstable, or any other variable you add, always retain proper fundamental mechanics.

The foundation is the least aesthetically appealing aspect of a house, but the structure above would not be functionally achievable without the substructure's sturdiness. Likewise, because of the less than dynamic nature of the majority of the activities, stability training is sometimes viewed as the least exciting of the three program phases. Most athletes find it more stimulating and innately fulfilling to do exercises that require movement, increasing loads, or the slamming of a medicine ball onto the ground. This is why even fitness enthusiasts and seasoned professionals alike tend to neglect training for stability and opt instead for the more sexy movement-oriented drills. Many people, especially those just starting a core program, plunge directly into the strength phase of their training - directed by any combination of individual comfort level, irrational misinformation from ill-intentioned physiotherapists, or nefarious product promises that ultimately do not live up to their claims. As we have stated repeatedly, working strength before stability is reckless and often leads to developmental setbacks and heightened injury potential.

Interestingly, many individuals never advance to the power-training phase, choosing instead to work only strength. It is true that power training should not be taken lightly, and that the body must be well prepared before attempting it. But the hard work involved in the previous phases, stability and strength, will sufficiently lay the groundwork for progressing to power. Do not let the explosive nature of the power drills deter you. Instead, view them as a necessary and essential piece of the complete core puzzle. As we age, our power levels diminish, and as we move into our later years, the deficiency of explosive vigor can detrimentally affect our quality of life. Power is relative to the individual, and can have far-different motivations - compare three-time Olympic and world champion weightlifter Pyrros Dimas, who wants to dominate his competition, with an elderly person who, when necessary, wants to get out of the way of an oncoming bus. Although it should be respected and earned, power training can be fun, and it is essential for success in the athletic world.

So that you clearly understand their purposes within the program philosophy and why each component is synergistically essential to the successful outcome of the total design, we will now review all three phases - stability, strength, and power - with additional detail. The level of importance for each phase is moment specific. You have undoubtedly heard the adage, "Live in the moment." For our purposes, the importance of the moment is the demarcated progression of advancing from stability to strength and from strength to power, and then repeating the cycle as development dictates.

The most important phase is always the one you are presently in. Progressing through the program is dependent upon mastery of the exercises at the previous phase. If you maintain a singular focus on one specific phase, or for that matter, one specific exercise, to the exclusion of the others, the probable results will be inefficient movement patterns and methodological deficiencies. Thus the crucial aspect of the program is the collective completion of each phase in its entirety. Along the way, and as you cycle through the phases again and again, you will always freshly appreciate your improved athleticism on the court, on the field, or in the backyard.