ARTICLES . . .
Pilates and the Core - by Peggy Normandin
These days a common instruction in just about any fitness setting is to be told to use your ‘core’. You may hear this from a personal trainer, your physical therapist, your yoga instructor and certainly when attending a Pilates class. Ever wonder exactly what the core is and how do you use it?
Joseph Pilates taught that there is a link between breathing and natural posture. He connected this theory in his teaching to ‘the centre of effort’ or the powerhouse. This center was from the base of the ribs to the top of the pelvis. Modern Pilates has expanded this center to include the lower abdominals, the pelvic floor, the gluteal muscles and spinal stabilizers. This is what is commonly called the core.
Why emphasize the core?
The ability to consciously activate and sustain the stability of the abdominals and postural muscles will allow us to perform an exercise, play a sport, and do an activity with full strength and endurance. Achieving the goal of full support of the movement we are engaging in will create balance in the body, facilitate muscle firing and help to avoid
injury. This is particularly true when it comes to avoiding back strains or injury.
But how do we train our core to fire more deeply and fully and to ask the muscles to work as a team to create stability? Joseph Pilates believed that the breath was an integral part of activating the core or center. Awareness was the next key in training our mind to recruit the correct muscles, as well as placing ourselves into a neutral spine position so that our muscles can work correctly and in balance.
These are principles that are taught in a Pilates class. Learning to work from the inside out, to activate the deep stabilizers, to find your neutral spine and weave it all together with your breath are wonderful reasons to find yourself in a Pilates class. It will enhance everything else that you do.
Peggy Normandin, Stott Certified Pilates Instructor, Owner, BodyDynamics, LLC, Cumberland RI