You know, when you think about looking at your body in the mirror, the first place you see is your stomach. The most standard goal is that you want to lose the “stomach” and have abs maybe. Well, the muscle that you care about is the same muscle that you have under layers of clothing and that no one else ever sees.
Even though no one can see your stomach, you become self-conscious to believe that they can see it through your clothes, so you decide to develop your abs and neglect the other core muscles that are just as important. I understand and admire your effort, but let’s think on this. You want abs but how about aiming for the core to help develop your abs. As you see, there is a difference between abs and core and from experience, developing your core muscles will help develop your abs.
What is the “core.”
The core muscles in the lower back, stomach, and hips. These muscles are always working to keep your body upright. The core can help with keeping an upright position when tilting forward (think squats) and backward (think deadlifts), and twisting and rotational movements (oblique twist). The core is the workhorse for every exercise that you do.
Core Strength vs. Core Stability
Now there are two ways to work out the core; you can involve core strength or core stability. What’s the difference you may ask? Well, core strength as you may see it is when you train the abs as you are isolating one muscle group. Core stability involves you working the entire core as a unit. Take planks, for example, you keep your body still and level with the ground, so you know it’s working those core muscles through stability. Whereas sit-ups only focus on your ab muscles through movement and not through stability.
As legs are said to be a foundation of the body, it may be best to view the core the same way. Your core muscles, support the spine, and if supported solidly, then you can perform efficiently and move more weight. By balancing the core, you also keep your posture in check, which will make your appearance more appealing.
Here is a look at the muscles of the core:
Rectus Abdominus( “6 pack” )
The six-pack abs are the outer stomach muscle
Transverse Abdominus (Deep Ab Muscle of the waist)
This muscle is the deepest ab muscle as It pulls your stomach in when you suck in. This muscle act as a belt by keeping your waist tight and shrink-wrapped.
Hip Flexors (Deep Hip Muscles)
This group of muscles can be located near towards the bottom of the pelvis area. By having good hip flexors, they can allow you to lower your body through the hips such as if you were to do squats
Erector Spinae ( Deep Back Muscle)
The erector spine sits in the lower back. It works with other muscles in the lower back to stabilize the spine and to allow the body to twist and bend backward.
Gluteus Maximus ( “Butt” )
This muscle is attached to the hip and works along with producing that extra push in most exercises when squeezed. By focusing on this muscle, it will indeed help with your training
External and Internal Abdominal Oblique ( “Side Abs” )
The obliques are the muscles you may see on the side of the abs hence the name “side abs.” The focus on these muscles helps with twisting and rotating
As you see, the key is to prevent from putting too much emphasis on the abs and keep the concentration on the body as a whole. You can still aim for core strength by targeting abs, butt or lower back muscles separately but stability is more than likely to carry better results. A better way to know if the training is focusing on your core stability is to see if it’s involving balance, instead of the movement of an individual core muscle. If you are in need of guidance on your journey, click here to reach out to me through email to talk about what the best solution may be for you.