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Core Strength Vs Core Stability – Which one should you be working on?

Should you focus on strength or stability to get the best out of your body?



The terms core ‘stability’ and core ‘strength’ are commonly used interchangeably – however, closer inspection reveals marked differences between the two.
Think of ‘strength’ as your hardware, and ‘stability’ as your software.
When we refer to stability, we are talking about the fine-tuning and coordination of all the little muscles in your body and their ability to engage and disengage at the appropriate time and subconsciously (without having to think about it).


The ability to stand on one foot with your eyes closed for 60 seconds requires you to have good stability – give it a try now.


Strength on the other hand is your ability to use the bigger “movement” muscles in your body efficiently – and this can’t happen if your “stability” muscles aren’t doing their job properly.


When working properly, the role of the smaller muscles is to stabilise your skeleton and spine in the optimal position so the bigger, stronger ‘hardware’ muscles can develop force and create movement.


We commonly see clients who can easily hold a 5-minute plank, or perform 100 sit-ups, but if they can’t stand on one foot for a minute or perform our kneeling stability exercise with equal ease, then the relative strength of their “movement” muscles is not going to help their running or cycling performance.


The following exercise is a great way to test your stability, and if it’s not up to scratch, then performing it regularly will help get you on track to having an injury-free and high-performance body.


We love analogies at The Body Mechanic – so here is another one:


Runners, cyclists and triathletes love working on their engine (cardiovascular fitness) but commonly neglect their chassis (core stability, flexibility) . . .  How well do you think a Ferrari engine would run in Fiat Bambina body?