Does a 6-Pack = a Strong Core?
Does having a 'six-pack' = a strong CORE? If you answered YES, then you need a short anatomy lesson. The 'core' is composed of as many as 35 different muscle groups. But for the sake of this post, we'll create 4 large groups: back extensors, abdominals, lateral trunk muscles, and the hip muscles. As you can see, the abdominals (or abs), are only 1 group, and comparatively other muscles in the remaining groups have much larger strengths and forces.
I don't think anyone would argue that a Powerlifter or Olympic Weightlifter each have very strong cores (given they participate at a high level at their sport). They do A LOT of additional abdominal work, but their glutes and backs are SO STRONG. You need to think of it like this, a model needs to have a 6-pack to look good, a bodybuilder needs to have biceps to flex, but a weightlifter needs LATS to perform. And ultimately, that's what we are after. Functional human performance. There are SO MANY ways to build a strong core, and you MUST use them ALL. If you only ever did sit-ups to increase your abdominal and core strength, it would be like installing 1 new winter tire on your Honda Civic - it's not going to make much of a difference. That being said, if you do lots of lower body compound lifts (squats, deadlifts, lunges etc.) and use sit-ups as a small part of your accessory movements, that is good. But what REALLY needs to be known is how important the posterior chain is for core strength. Think of your glutes, spinal erectors and lats (latissimus dorsi). If you want to be able to hold onto something, lift something or move something (or in any case - someone - sports reference), these muscles need to be a priority. This does not mean you need to isolate them, but it also does not mean you don't need to isolate them - that completely depends on who you are. For some ideas to train ALL of these muscles simultaneously, there are couple of go to's: - Halting/Pausing Deadlifts (Increased time under tension) - Romanian Deadlifts (increased stress to lats and erectors) - Bent Over Barbell Rows (done right, this is the hardest and most beneficial of them all)
This is only a VERY small list of a few highly beneficial exercises that will get you lots of results without taking hours or doing the latest 7 minute ABS routine.
If you think you have a strong core, but can't deadlift or squat more than your bodyweight on a barbell, we should talk.
- Coach Terrence