Thursday, February 10, 2011

Book Review: Core Performance Endurance

I got this book just around about Christmas time having read about it on some blog (I can't remember the one, it was one of those days I bounced around blogs and links and links and blogs). I recognise my core is poor and thought this was (yet another) way to get some inspiration and attack the problem head on!

Anyway - I finally got around to picking up the book whilst on a business trip (it fitted in my hand luggage). Somewhat inevitably I skipped right to the session planner towards the rear.... I kind of already knew some of the moves and exercises, there's a good section on foam roller/ tennis ball "regeneration" moves which initially I thought useful too. I turned the pages back to the program page (there is but one) and thought "huh" what is it talking about here... there was nothing for it - I'd have to read the book from the front!!

So I took the book down to dinner (as you do when you're travelling on your own); gorged myself on the contents of the book whilst eating a rather below par hotel meal (I should have been more adventurous and headed out but I'd been up since 4am and couldn't be arsed!).... I was soon engrossed and fascinated to the principles laid out in the "Introduction" by the author Mark Verstegen.  Although I thought, I am not one of those "endurance athletes" who suffer from any form of chronic injury .... but errr wait a minute ok I did actually have a f**cked up foot most of last year and didn't run which was completely acceptable yes?!.... OH GOD THIS COULD BE ME WITHOUT ME EVEN REALISE... so I read on..  Whilst not all of the paragraphs were apt for me per se they could have been and perhaps they would have been in my future?

I read on with an ever increasing interest. Chapter 1 "A call to change" starts with a very interesting test/ observation before talking about the ability to store and release energy efficiently (surely an endurance athletes goal). Chapter 2 gives some key self evaluation activities.... these were an eye opener - not necessarily surprising but an eye opener!!

These two chapters really lay the foundation for  Part 2 of the book "Core Endurance Movement" where the key chapter for me comes in chapter 3 "Building your pillar"... without barking on about the principles too much my main take away from this was BEFORE exercise it's pretty darn important to awaken your pillar of strength (this is not just your core) in order to get the right muscles firing straight away when you start... I am a nightmare ... my warm up is the first 20mins of run/ bike or swim... at least it was before I read this book. Don't get me wrong I've always aware of the need to warm up... BUT I've never (not even with our hockey SAQ warm up although that is the closest) awoken my "Pillar of strength" as referred to in this book. This is not just your "core" girdle but hamstrings, glutes, pelvis, hips, back etc (read the book)..... and done via a suggested routine (which are those towards the back of the book which is where I started!)

So without further a do and my head buzzing I decided I'd get up early the next morning and test out the theory.

I have to say whether it was a placebo effect or genuine I went for my run the next day and it felt GREAT... I was buzzing along felt extremely comfortable, relaxing and much more enjoyable then a standard early morning grunt run in a foreign country.

I'd certainly recommend this book to anyone wanting to engage in swim/bike or run activity (in fact it will transfer to any sport I'd think although Verstegen may have written a different book for these??? )... There are further parts to the book; Part 3 discussing "Core Endurance Nutrition" (which I found I knew much of because I've read into this before but it is all good information) and then with Part 4 "The Core Endurance Workout" being the very useful guide to the exercises (how to, key coaching points and what you should feel) as well as the session planner itself.

You can currently get this book on Amazon in the UK for under £9 - and I'd recommend it for that money.

Ease of Reading: 5/5
Value for money: 5/5
Met Expectations: 5/5

Big thumbs up!


  1. I recently sent this book to the charity shop. I held such high hopes for it but it wound me up so much I couldn't have it in the house any longer.

    Can't remember what annoyed me know. Perhaps something about running style.

    Glad you enjoyed it though.

  2. This is another wonderful addition to Verstegen and co-author Pete WiIliams excellent series... my only criticism of 'Endurance', 'Essentials' and the first book would be that there's a little too much unnecessary repetition particularly in the nutrition chapters. Contrary to the previous comment, as far as I'm concerned, the section on running and specifically how to avoid injury by observing correct posture was perhaps the most useful part and what really makes this title a must-have volume in the series.