A lean and defined stomach, with visible abs is widely considered a sign of being fit, healthy and in good shape. However, a strong well-developed core isn’t all aesthetics; the muscles of the core have very important functions too.
As the mid section between the lower body and upper, your core plays a vital role in stabilising your spine and hips ensuring your entire body works coherently.
Defined abs and a defined stomach does not always mean you have a well developed core. Visible abs primarily comes down to body composition, it’s very common to have defined stomach but weak under developed core muscles. On the other hand, it’s common for people to have a strong well-developed core but lack definition all together.
The core is essentially your entire stomach and lower back region, comprised of a large number of muscles including your obliques, transverse abdominis and rectus abdominis (abs) to name a few.
When people refer to abs, they’re generally referring to that 6 pack look: the rectus abdominis, which is just one section of your core that assists in a portion of the primary functions of your core.
Building a strong core that’ll minimise your risk of injury and improve how you feel, move and function, is a product of your training approach.
Direct training for abs is often comprised of a handful of spinal flexion based exercises (crunch, sit ups etc)
These can be inefficient and do not train, strengthen and develop all necessary muscles of the core to effectively enable your body to functional well.
Direct ab training can be effective at helping your ab muscles thicken and possibly become slightly more visible with low body fat levels. However, training for this neglects many of the vital muscles and functions of the core that need to be worked and addressed.
A strong and well developed core is essential to minimise your risk of injury, especially lower back problems. By training your entire core through movements such as: anti-flexion, anti-rotation and anti-extension, you’ll become stronger at moving in the way our bodies are made to move.
Training like this will also help you to produce greater force over time and therefore improve the compound exercises you perform in and out of the gym.
A few of our favourite exercises to help develop a strong core include:
⁃Pallof hold/press variations
⁃Dead bug variations
Include some of these exercises into your workouts and build a stronger core! For some more core training tips and exercise demonstrations, head over to our instagram here!