Assuming one trains both but wants to emphasize one more than the other, with more frequency and higher intensity, will obliques or the rectus abdominis improve more the strength of heavy pulls.

Heavy pulls = olympic Snatches,low/high pulls,hand and thigh lifts, clean and jerks...


1 Answer 1


There's an interesting article on this subject at T-Nation - in particular see the charts for muscle activation of RA and EO in various exercises. Essentially the rectus abdominus is not recruited heavily at all for squats and deadlifts (although posterior stabilisers such as multifidus are), whilst activation of the external obliques is somewhat higher - although still much lower than during core exercises specifically designed to target this area.

So of the two the external obliques are more relevant during heavy pulls but are unlikely to be a limiting factor.

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    This. The core muscles which you can see (externa ones) are only being activated a little while doing heavy lifts. It's more the internal core muscles which provide balance and core strength.
    – MJB
    Commented Mar 16, 2018 at 13:55

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