ABS? CORE? What’s the Difference?


When we work our abs, the idea is to strengthen the large abdominal muscles that help us flex forward, or twist our torso.  If we want to take it a step further, we can work our transverse abdominus, the muscle that is activated when we do leg lifts.  Working all of these muscles can be instrumental in improving posture, protecting the lower back, and providing a solid base for other motions. These things are awesome.

So what is all the stuff about the need for “functional training” and “core training”?  In a nutshell, the answer is this: as we move through life or through our golf swing, our CENTER OF GRAVITY changes.  If we are just standing up and maintaining balance on two legs, our center of gravity is located slightly above and behind our naval.  But, all we have to do is bend over to get into address position, and that center of gravity moves to a place behind that area.  Once that happens, your abdominal muscles need to work slightly differently.   The same is true as you continue on through the entire swing, or move through other activities during the day.

So here’s where functional and core training comes in.  You may have great abdominal muscles, but they need to be supported and augmented by the rest of the muscles in your trunk in order to be effective movers as your orientation in space changes.  That is why you see all kinds of different ways to train your core these days, including kettle bells, TRX suspension system, physioball, medicine ball, foam rollers, Bosu, yoga and Pilates. These methods and tools integrate core training with the rest of the body so that you become strong and reactive in many directions and under all sorts of circumstances.  In other words, the training is “functional”, and can lead to an improvement in your overall fitness, as well as to better control in your golf swing.

All the best

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