Getting to the core of the matter!
In Pilates we talk a lot about the core! But what exactly is it and why do we need to ensure it's doing its job? Find out which muscles make up our core (it's not just the abs!) and why it's so important for our everyday movement.
Most people when developing their core focus on the abdominal muscles and do lots of sit-ups and crunches in the hope of getting a fabulously flat stomach and a six-pack. However, the core as we refer to it in Pilates is much more than this. Named the body’s ‘powerhouse’ by Joseph Pilates, the core comprises the inner muscles of the trunk which when working efficiently provide a stable base from which movement can occur. Forming a cylinder that creates intra-abdominal pressure and stability for the spine, the core includes:
Transversus Abdominis (TVA) - the inner layer of abdominal muscles that wrap around the trunk like a corset
Pelvic Floor – the sling of muscles that run from front to back, creating the base of the cylinder
Multifidus – a muscle that runs along the length of the spine and plays an important role in stabilisation
Diaphragm – a muscle that plays an important role in breathing and acts as the top of the cylinder.
Why do you need a strong core?
Core strength is crucial in every movement you do. Before undertaking any movement, our nervous system sends a signal to fire up the inner core muscles to help stabilise us before the body begins to move. A strong core provides a stable base for movement, supports and protects the spine, and gives you improved posture, balance and flexibility, all of which helps to prevent injury and enables you to move more efficiently.
"When all your muscles are properly developed, you will, as a matter of course, perform your work with minimum effort and maximum pleasure.”