Core Stability vs Core Strength - what's the difference?
Everyone talks about the importance of the core. With core stability and core strength being two common terms used but what do they mean and are they different?
Core stability is using the muscles of your core to stabilise your spine and resist unwanted movement. The muscles of your core; abdominals, back muscles and glutes work together to support the spine and pelvis creating a stable base for movement to occur.
Core strength is the actual strength of the muscles of your core. The muscles working to create movement and power. Often core strength exercises isolate one muscle group working until the muscle fatigues. Having core strength allows you to perform actions such as throwing or jumping more efficiently and powerfully.
Whilst both work the muscles of the core, they work the muscles in a different way. Yet despite working in a different way, they are interdependent. You need a stable base (core stability) to be able to produce force with movement (core strength).
Working both the stability and the strength of the core are important for daily life and movement performance; having a stable core will help you perform the strength exercises so arguably should be prioritised initially in your exercise regimen, adding strength elements where able. Core stability will help you better perform your strength exercises, help you run, ride or swim more efficiently and help you in sport.
Examples of core stability exercises are the plank, dead bug, bird dog, paloff press, bridge. There are many options to start and adding an unstable base such as an exercise ball or a foam roller can help challenge your stability further.
Examples of core strength exercises are the woodchop, bicycle crunches, back extensions, loaded sit ups, roll outs. There are many core strength exercises and most will work through moving the spine and pelvis.
Whilst both core stability and core strength are both important; the most important thing is how you perform the exercises. Form is key.