The key difference between core strength and core stability

Core strength and core stability are two terms that are frequently used interchangeably in discussions concerning the training of your core musculature, or trunk musculature. Many people use both of these components during their training regime and workouts, however they do not always fully understand the difference between these two components. It's important to understand the difference between the two, as there are very distinct differences, and depending upon what you're hoping to achieve in your training you will need to focus on one, or the other, or ensure you are using a mixture of both.

The specific exercises and examples that apply to these definitions depend on your definition of the term 'core'. For the purpose of the examples given in this post, we'll be referring to the abdominal muscles, but it can apply to other muscles also.

What's the difference between core strength and core stability?

Succinctly put, the difference is that anything requiring you to resist fatigue is core strength, while anything requiring you to maintain balance is core stability. While this distinction may not seem particularly great, it's the difference between your training efforts succeeding and failing.

Let's look at the difference in a little more detail...

Core stability

Core stability is essentially the ability to maintain your balance without falling over; the ability to keep your posture and position stable. Core stability training (where the abdominal muscles are concerned), demands that you resist moving your lumbar spine by engaging all of your abdominal musculature. Your ability to use your muscles to keep you in a stable position is very important, and the development of core stability is entirely concerned with ensuring you deviate from your chosen position as little as possible.

Core strength

Core strength should really be called core endurance, as it is entirely concerned with your ability to hold a position while resisting fatigue. Ensuring you are capable of holding your chosen position over a period of time, and that you can repeatedly hold a position or posture, all the while resisting fatigue, is what core strength is all about. Unlike training for core stability, when you train for core strength (again, with your abdominal muscles), you can allow motion through your lumbar spine as you endeavour to work your abdominal musculature. This is often isolated, working different muscles at different times, rather than engaging all of your abdominal musculature in order to remain still and resist fatigue.

For more examples of both core stability and core strength, check out our video on the difference between core strength and core stability, and don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos.