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First, the good. I've been a big fan of Core Performance workouts since reading the first book by Mark Verstegen. As I shifted toward more endurance sports like triathlon, I found the original book to be less helpful. Core Performance Endurance is the long-awaited combination of a core conditioning program with endurance training. On this most important point, I think Verstegen has again come through in a big way. Workouts emphasize flexibility, core strength, and injury prevention. Days are divided by emphasis on "strength", "power", "regeneration", and "rest". The idea is that, through this approach, an athlete will train efficiently and get the most results for the effort expended. What most people would call the "cardio" work is here referred to as "energy system development" or ESD. ESD work is done on most days, but it varies between slow days at less than race pace, relatively short intervals at race pace, and brief intervals at greater than race pace. The goal is to use the combination of approaches to improve the lactate threshold, the point where muscles start to "burn" and increase the level at which an athlete continuously perform without lactic acid build up. This flies in the face of "more is better" training, and it is consistent with the most recent advances in exercise physiology.
The Bad. If you are expecting a spoon-fed workout, you will be disappointed. The ESD workouts do not specify which sport is to be performed. That approach would work best for a pure runner or biker. For a multi-sport triathlete, it leaves a fair bit of the work in designing the program to the individual. For instance, should a swim be combined with a "power" day or a "strength" day? Should one alternate?Read more ›
Mark Verstegen deserves a lot of credit for his ability to take a basic concept and milk it into a very lucrative cottage industry. While I actually liked his earlier Core Performance Essentials book (it's a good basic introductory book, though admittedly not much is new there either), Core Performance Endurance offers virtually no new material. Instead, the book is a complete rehash of Essentials and his first book. The rehashing goes so far that entire sections of Endurance are copied word for word from the earlier two books. Other sections show substantial overlap (but not verbatim) with the earlier two books. The two exceptions is that he spends a little more time introducing plyometics (though an introductory text on plyometrics can do it better) and regeneration (the novel concept that endurance athletes should schedule regular rest and active regeneration instead of going 100% every day).
I was also disappointed in the lack of new exercises presented. Whereas Essentials provided an interesting variety and progression of exercises, Endurance was fairly minimal in its presentation. I was especially expecting more challenging exercises that would be appropriate for endurance atheletes.
Finally, I was annoyed by the endless cross-selling of other products endorsed by Verstegen. I already bought the book and buy into the philosophy, but there were too many pushes of the coreperformance website (a subscription service that offers more exercises) and other products sold by Athletes Performance or strategic partners. There is a time and a place for cross-selling, but this book crossed the line.
Overall, if you're a Verstegen fan and want to know what the whole core thing is all about, I'd recommend Essentials over Endurance, but even then I'd recommend it only if you're looking for something fairly introductory.
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Overall, I really like this book. They have made a lot of improvements since their first Core Performance book. This book shows how to incorporate core and strength training into an already busy schedule of swimming, biking and running. It is meant for any type of endurance athlete. You incorporate your endurance sport of choice into their training plan.
The one thing I really hate about the book is I felt like they were constantly trying to sell me something. I also wish that in some places they actually cited the studies they mention.
If you can ignore those issues though, this is a great book to get you started on improving how you train for endurance sports.
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I have been a fan of the CP approach since the original book. As a trail runner and mountain biker, neither of the previous titles addressed training and injury-prevention particular to my interests. Core Performance Endurance applies the already widely praised and very effective techniques of Movement Prep, Prehab, Elasticity, Power and Strength Training to the particular demands of cycling, running, swimming and other "lung" sports.
A great deal of space is devoted to "Tissue Management". The human body takes quite a pounding during endurance training but these techniques, combined with proper movement patterns and nutrition can prevent over 60% of the injuries commonly experienced by endurance athletes according to the authors. This information alone is largely ignored in other published material and easily justifies the purchase of this book.
The nutritional information provided is state-of-the-art, practical and effective. They know what an endurance athlete's body demands and dispell many prevalent myths that are ineffective at best and potentially dangerous at worst.
The material is clearly presented (they've learned what works from feedback regarding the previous books) and there are plenty of new tricks for those already familiar with the CP methodology. As a program it is very flexible and realistic for those who already have to squeeze in rides, runs and swims in-between work and family responsibilities. Many other books on this subject assume you've got endless time and opportunity to work on increasing your VO2 Max.
Other reviews have mentioned needing to purchase additional equipment to do some of the exercises.Read more ›
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