This week's question -
Are my abs and my core the same thing? I work abs all the time, why am I still being told I have a weak core?
My answer -
If you ask 10 people about this, you will get 10 different answers with different terminology including "center" "pillar" "abdominal group" etc, so I will try to keep my explanation as simple as possible.
Your abs are part of your core, your abs are not your core. When most people think of abs, they think of the rectus abdominis, or "six pack muscle." However even that is only one part of our ab muscles, which are part of our core. Our abs are 3 dimensional. We have the "six pack muscles" which run up and down, our transverse abdominis which runs side to side, and our oblique muscles that run diagonally.
Our core, however, entails everything between our diaphragm and our pelvic floor, including bones, cartilage, and many layers of muscles. Training just the ab muscles, or even all 3 ab muscle groups does not necessarily lead to a strong core.
When someone has a "strong core" it is usually a measure of their ability to keep their rib cage centered over their pelvis despite outside forces acting upon it. Therefore, training this motion (or ability to resist motion) is what will lead to a strong core.
A "strong core" may not as cool looking as a 6 pack, but it is a lot more functional and not being injured is definitely cool. If you want help developing your personal "strong core" plan, respond to this email!