When you think of ‘core’ most people imagine having washboard abs. However, the perfect six pack is just one muscle called your rectus abdominis that only makes up part of your core. There are many more surrounding and deeper muscles involved in making up your core, all working together to support your body.
The core is often described as a group of stabilising muscles that include your transverse abdominis (TrA); multifidus, pelvic floor and diaphragm. However, for a strong core you need both stability and mobility to move so I like to think of your core as anything from your chest to your hips. This includes your movers such as your spinal erectors, abdominals, obliques, quadratus lumborum and glutes.
These core muscles work together to help support your trunk and spine when doing functional activities. Your core is always working – even when you are just standing up.
This is why I promote functional exercises when working out at the gym rather than simply sitting on a piece of exercise equipment. Functional exercises help strengthen and mimic your everyday movements in a practical way, helping you improve an everyday activity such as squatting to pick up your child or preparing to get back out on the soccer field. If you are doing functional strengthening exercises at the gym then you are already training your core and you may not necessarily need to do specific core exercises.
Having strong foundations, otherwise known as core stability, will strengthen and improve your control over other movement patterns such as jumping, throwing, lifting and balance. Great core stability isn’t just a goal for postpartum mums, everyone can benefit from pilates or core strengthening exercises to improve their performance or ease of everyday movement.
It is important to remember that your body is made to work as a unit, not in isolation. The question is just how well are the muscles in your core cooperating with the rest of your body. Are you overactive in these muscles or under active and need to strengthen?
Building on the foundations of pilates and breath work, my pilates classes focus on building strength through body awareness and exercise. These are exercises suitable for all ages and abilities. Everyone has a core that can be trained, it’s just understanding how to do it.
Learn more about our Pilates classes by contacting us HERE