Do You Really Need to Train Your Abs?

November 4, 2022

We’ve all heard about the importance of a strong core and lately you might have heard that compound lifts are all you need to strengthen it. In this article we’ll help you understand why training your abs is as important as training your core, what the differences between them are, and why you need to strengthen both.

So what’s the difference between your abs and core?

A lot of the time the terms core and abs are used interchangeably, however there is a ‘core’ difference. Your core is made up of all the muscles in the trunk of your body including:

Transverse abdominis
Internal obliques
External obliques
Rectus abdominis
Erector Spinae

Pelvic floor muscles (yes these too!)

Whereas your abs are 4 specific muscles that make up part of your core and can be found between your ribs and pelvis on the front of your body. The 4 muscles which make up your abs are your:

Transverse abdominis

Internal obliques

External obliques

Rectus abdominis (or commonly known as our six pack)

What is the importance of strengthening them?

As your core contains all the muscles in the trunk of your body, it’s main job (and a very important one too), is to work together to help stabilise, support and protect the spine as well as helping to:

✅ Protect your vital organs

✅ Enhance your balance

✅ Perfect your posture

✅ Boost your power

Your abs on the other hand perform specific functions like helping your bend, rotate and twist.

So how should I train them?

Training and strengthening your core and abs is essential for a healthy, fit and well functioning body. However because of the differences of their roles, how you should train them is also very different.

Strengthening your core

As your core’s main role is to support, protect and stabilise the spine it is most effectively strengthened when trained isometrically, (so maintaining one position and resisting movement. A good way to think of this is when you perform big compound lifts like your deadlift, squat or bent over row, you’re having to engage and work your core by tensing it to maintain a good position.

Strengthening and defining your abs

On the other hand your abs need to be trained differently as their main function is different to your overall core. Your abs therefore work best when you train them eccentrically and concentrically, so shortening and lengthening of the muscles rather than maintaining one movement. Squats and deadlifts, while they have been shown to be incredible at strengthening your core, have little to no impact on strengthening or defining your abs.

While on the hand exercises like crunches or sit-ups are essential for strengthening your rectus abdominis (six pack) as you're working and training that muscle directly to get better as what it’s naturally designed to do, (flexion or bending the spine).

The bottom line

As we can see both your core and your abs carry out a specific role in your body. While you might get away with just training your core through compound lifts, strengthening your abs is essential as it enables you to move better through certain movements. To maximise your results and for an optimum healthy, fit and functioning body aim to incorporate both types of training into your program.

To help ensure that you unleash your full potential, Krissy has just released her new 100 Reps Abs Challenge to be enjoyed as either a finisher or starter to your main EvolveYou program. So, if you were looking for some inspiration to train your abs then this is definitely it!

Join now to become a stronger, fitter and healthier version of you!

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EvolveYou Team
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