First off, know that abdominal strength doesn’t have anything to do with the superficial six-pack we’re sold by the larger world of fitness and diet culture. Let’s just get that out of the way! In the Pilates world, finding your core is about understanding when and how to activate your abdominals to support graceful, coordinated movement.
Some very important reasons to find and exercise your core:
- Improves the overall stability of your trunk.
- Transfers power to your extremities, be it during daily activities or for an athletic event.
- Relieves low back pain and provides support for the spine.
- Promotes better breathing which boosts vagal tone and lowers sympathetic tone.
But how do you find your core, especially when it’s to initiate your Pilates exercises?
True to mindful movement, “identifying your core” means moving from an unconscious to a conscious awareness of your deep abdominal muscles. Knowing how and when to flex your core will help you stabilize your abs as it relates to every Pilates exercise! If you don’t feel the burn, you’re likely not activating your core.
Try Finding Your Core At Home:
- Lying on your back, or balanced on a foam roller if you prefer, lay your hands on your lower abdomen breathing naturally. Feel the belly rise and fall.
- On an exhale make either an Shhhh, Ssss, or Haaa sound (try all three!). And focus on shrinking the cylinder that is your trunk, drawing in. Do no pooch out!
- Gently knead your figures into your lower abdomen, do you feel the muscle tissue contract and become dense. Like when you laugh so hard you have stitches in your sides!
Being conscious of your abdominal activation during exhale will begin to build the natural reflexiveness and tone of your core. Thus consciously finding your core leads to unconsciously flexing your core to stabilize your spine as you get into the more advanced Pilates exercises and beyond into daily movement. You begin to build the balanced reflexes necessary to eliminate pain from movement and help you move with efficiency and ease.
THE INFORMATION EXPRESSED ON THIS SITE IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. WE DRAW ON OUR EXPERTISE AS PILATES AND MOVEMENT SPECIALISTS BY EXPANDING OUR PROFESSIONALISM THROUGH CONTINUING EDUCATION AND PERSONAL EXPERIENCES. WE AIM TO PROVIDE VALUABLE INFORMATION CONCERNING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PILATES, FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENT, AND FITNESS. YOU TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR ALL DECISIONS NOW OR IN THE FUTURE CONCERNING YOUR HEALTH, LIFE, AND WELL-BEING. THIS INFORMATION IS NOT TO BE USED AS MEDICAL ADVICE EITHER TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE, OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE OR AILMENTS. YOU SHOULD CONSULT A PHYSICIAN BEFORE BEGINNING ANY EXERCISE PROGRAM.