‘Strong abs’; ‘core stability’; ‘core of steel!!’ is one of the first things that people think of when Pilates is mentioned.
Core stability and strength give you just that – a stable core as a base of support for movement. Core stability helps you control the position of your Head, Shoulders, Spine and Pelvis helping you maintain posture and control motion.
Your core consists of much more than your abdominal muscles!
Standing on one leg, running, bending down to pick something up off the floor, reaching up to take something from a shelf – your core stability muscles will be there. At a subconscious level, your core will be there to support you (sounds like a lyric from a love song!) As one of the Pilates Fundamentals, Core Stability helps you to use the right muscle, at the right time, with the right intensity for the job.
Stability and Mobility
Good core stability will allow you to have more mobility: good mobility in your joints will allow your deep postural muscles to support you. If you’re lacking joint mobility, in your hips, for example; you still have to move and your body knows this. Instead of using your glutes – your bottom – and leg muscles to move, bend, walk, you can begin, without realising, to use your lower back muscles.
Usual result? Back Pain
With Pilates, you build body awareness and the ability to monitor and control your alignment. Your core, as previously mentioned, is significantly more than just your abdominal muscles. It also includes your deep, supportive, postural back muscles, your deep abdominals, pelvic floor and diaphragm. (The diaphragm? – see why breathing is one of the fundamentals of Pilates)
- brings your focus to the whole centre of your body allowing you to move effectively with safety and stability
- ties together your stabilising muscles with good alignment and breathing
- prevents you from holding your breath
- helps give you better balance
Here’s a brilliant description that sums up ‘core strength’ in three sentences.
“Core strength does not mean abdominal exercises! It is the ability to stabilize the bones in the upper body, rotate the torso with proper spinal curvature, and maintain pelvic position while sitting, standing and exercising! It’s the ability to control the bladder, stabilize the ligaments of the knees with the lower abdominal wall and breathe correctly while doing all of these!”
Pilates really is Perfect