The 3 Core Amigos: Brace, Rotate, Resist

The Three Core Amigos: Brace, Rotate, Resist

Brace (left) and Rotate (right) are the three core amigos of the StrongLifts 5×5 program. They rotate through each other’s positions during the lift. They have been selected because they both possess excellent technique and they all use similar techniques when performing their lifts. They all perform the same way – with a combination of bracing and rotating movements.

In the video below, I show you how these two men rotate into position for the lift. You will see them all rotate together. The first thing that needs to be noted is that they don’t just rotate their shoulders while doing so. They also rotate their upper backs and hips simultaneously.

That is why it looks like they are “squatting” from one place to another!

The second thing that needs to be noted is that they aren’t just rotating their heads or looking at the floor. They are actually rotating their whole bodies. So much so, that it looks like they are “standing up.” When you look closely at the video, you’ll notice that some of them even appear to be standing on top of each other!

What does this mean?

Two things. One: it shows that they are moving their bodies naturally in order to lift themselves up. Instead of just twisting from side to side, they shift their weight onto one side or the other. Two: you can also see that a lot of twisting or turning is going on. They aren’t just twisting their upper backs and shoulders while keeping their butts and hips stationary. They are twisting their whole upper bodies in a combination of rotations. Their whole back is twisting around.

This is why you are told to keep your upper back against the bench while performing a bench press. As you push the bar away from your chest, you move your shoulders forward and twist them in order to lift the weight. At the same time, you keep your butt and hips stationary to prevent your lower back from arching or bending. If you think about it, there’s a lot of twisting going on in your body when you bench!

This also explains why your neck can take a beating when you’re lifting.

Don’t believe me?

Look at the fit, older guys in your gym. They probably have a bulging disk in their neck from all the twisting they do.

You can see the same twisting and rotating going on during a deadlift. As you lift the weight from the floor, you naturally twist your upper back and shoulders to bring the weight up. The difference between a deadlift and a squat or bench press is that you’re twisting your upper body in different directions. Instead of twisting your shoulders to the side, you’re twisting them in and back.

This twisting motion is the entire secret behind lifting heavy weights.

The Best Workout Plan In The World

At StrongLifts, we don’t care too much about what exercises you do. We care more about how you do them.

What’s the point of doing a bicep curl if you’re not going to do it properly?

You might as well just bend over and touch your toes. Just like how you have to squat right if you want to get stronger, you have to do everything else right too!

When I first started out lifting, I just did what everybody else did in the gym. I did a routine that focused on a different body part each day of the week. While that might sound good in theory, it doesn’t take into account the way your body moves. You have to train movements, not muscles!

The 3 Core Amigos: Brace, Rotate, Resist - from our website

Here’s a routine I use at the beginning of my workouts to train the proper movement patterns. You’ll notice that there are no exercises here. There is only one exercise – the squat! But you’ll be using different variations and techniques in order to improve your strength and prevent injury.

This will also improve your squatting ability in general.

How it works is you’re going to perform 5 sets of 5 reps of each of the following:

Static squats (start at the bottom of the squat and pause there)

Pause squats (start at the bottom, pause, and then come back up. Don’t bounce out of the bottom! Go slow.)

Step-back squats (this one is a little different. From the bottom of the squat, come back up to a quarter squat and then step one foot back. Set the foot down and then do another quarter squat and then set that foot down. Now you’re in the bottom position of a squat.

From here, do another quarter squat and stand back up.)

That’s it. No more, no less. Do this twice a week on your heaviest lifting days. After three months, add a five rep set to each of the three variations.

The 3 Core Amigos: Brace, Rotate, Resist - from our website

By six months, you’ll be able to squat twice your body weight whether you’re a frail grandma or a big, bulky dude.

That’s it for this month! Check in next month for the second and final part of this article series. In it, I’ll teach you how your legs help you push big weights around and how to use StrongLifts 5×5 to increase your bench press.

Add weight to the bar!

Note: This article was included in the eBook titled “How To Build Muscle: All The Information You Need!” which is available for free download here.


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Synergy of medial and lateral hamstrings at three positions of tibial rotation during maximum isometric knee flexion by O Mohamed, J Perry, H Hislop – The Knee, 2003 – Elsevier

Response of three types of cast posts and cores to static loading. by A Martínez-González, V Amigó-Borrás… – Quintessence …, 2001 –

Study of patient-orthosis interaction forces in rehabilitation therapies by LE Amigo, Q Fernández, X Giralt… – 2012 4th IEEE RAS & …, 2012 –

The design of a five-degree-of-freedom powered orthosis for the upper limb by GR Johnson, DA Carus, G Parrini… – Proceedings of the …, 2001 –

Dynamic EMG analysis of anterior cruciate deficient legs with and without bracing during cutting by TP Branch, R Hunter, M Donath – The American journal of …, 1989 –