Getting six-pack abs is perhaps one of the most common goals that trainees are looking after.
However, the six-pack is just one of the components of your abdominal musculature, so it is a good idea to learn how to differentiate between the six-pack and the core.
In knowing the differences between the two, you will create a much stronger core overall.
This article is explicitly dedicated to explaining the differences between the two, so let’s get to it!
It is a fact that a well-chiselled set of abs can make or break your physique, as it makes up a large portion of the front side of your torso.
The six-pack is technically one single muscle, called the “Rectus Abdominis”, and its primary function is to move and control the body between the ribcage and the pelvis.
This muscle is targeted when you do exercises that curl your torso or lift your legs/knees.
Now, oppositely, the CORE is a group of muscles, and as a matter of fact, the Rectus Abdominis is a part of your core.
Indeed, because the core is a bunch of different muscle groups, it has plenty of essential functions, including but not limited to:
- Maintaining organ position.
- Spinal support.
- Breathing assistance.
What Is The Core Made Of?
Alright, so now you learned the fundamental difference between the six-pack and the core – The six-pack is a part of the core, which serves various functions.
So now you know the difference: The abs are a single muscle group, while the core is a set of muscles that includes the abs.
The abs, obliques, mid and lower back, and glutes are the main core muscles.
Try to feel your core engaging the next time you do a gym exercise like cable tricep pushdowns.
When it does, it stabilises the movement and helps you to remain in a static, upright position.
Unlike the abs, which serve only one function, the core is much more versatile.
To say the least, the core contains muscles that are deep and, for most trainees, unknown or ignored.
They are often ignored because most people focus on the superficial abdominal musculature (the six-pack).
And though the six-pack looks fantastic, you must not ignore the other components of your core musculature, as they will help you perform better overall.
Athletes who focus on their core are much more stable and healthy during dynamic physical activity than those who only exercise their “six-pack.”
Furthermore, having a solid core is a great way to avoid specific injuries due to underdeveloped core musculature.
How To Train Your Core
This article was written for the sole purpose of instilling in you the belief that your mid-section is much more than a good-looking six-pack.
The six-pack is just one of the components of your core musculature, meaning that you should focus on that… And more!
Besides training the six-pack, you should also target the lower back, obliques, glutes and inner abdominal muscles.
In doing so, you will develop not only a beautiful set of abs but also a functional core that will help you with every other exercise, as well as your overall athletic performance.
Top 4 Abs & Core Exercises
Here are our best picks for exercises that you can use to target the six-pack and the core.
You can include this in your regular training routine, but make sure that you are not doing them the day before any heavy compound movements like squats and deadlifts, as this may compromise your performance and stability on those exercises.
#1 Floor Crunch
The crunch is the most famous abs exercise, and even though many people dismiss it, it can be a viable tool for six-pack development.
One of the best variations in the floor crunch is that you only flex the abs without getting your torso entirely off the ground.
This allows for a strong, prominent contraction, which will inevitably bring better development of your abs.
#2 Hanging Leg Raises
The hanging leg raise is another excellent abs and core exercise, which can help you strengthen your six-pack and other stabilising muscle groups.
The tricky thing with this exercise is getting into a rhythm without swinging the torso out of control.
This is only possible with greater activation of the stabilising core muscles, making it an overall perfect core exercise.
If this exercise is too strenuous for you, you can do a hanging knee raise, where instead of lifting your legs straight, you only lift the knees towards the chest.
#3 Twisted Hanging Leg Raises
As we mentioned, the six-pack is just a part of your core, and on its sides, you can find the Obliques.
A well-developed set of obliques gives a complete look of the midsection, and one of the best exercises to target them is the twisted hanging leg raise.
This is essentially the same as a hanging leg raise… But with a twist!
By twisting the legs to the side during the raise, you allow for great oblique activation, making it a perfect exercise to get chiselled obliques!
So far, all three exercises are dynamically involving, meaning that there is a phase of contraction and then relaxation.
However, the truth is that the core and the abs provide for dynamic strength and static such.
If done right, the plank can be a great tool to develop static strength, which will help you have better-looking abs and a more stabilised and balanced core overall.
Your core is much more than just your six-pack, meaning that you are better off doing more than just crunches.
Think of your core as the foundation of your body, which helps during most movements, especially the more dynamic, athletic types of activity.
Diversify from the thousands of crunches and include exercises like side twists, leg raises, hyperextensions for the lower back and even stomach vacuums!
Do all this, and you will improve your core much more than you thought possible!
Don’t limit yourself.