Is Pilates good for strength ?
The simple answer is, Yes ! Pilates is great for strength building. The kinds of strength building that Pilates is especially good at are core strength, tensegrity or integrated strength, and bone strength. These kinds of Pilates given strengths serve to underpin the more familiar strength building of the arms, legs and shoulder muscles.
How do I activate Core Strength and the Pilates Core ?
We have talked about the core and core strength many times. As Pilates teachers we talk about and work with the core in every class, every day and in our own Pilates Practice. Activating the core is as simple as breathing and as subtle. Just like with our breathing process, we are not usually in contact with the process of switching on the core, until we train our awareness and understanding.
What is the core ?
The core is what we call the group of muscles that work together to support the cylinder of the torso. That is the spine, the belly area and the pelvic outlet, from the low ribs or diaphragm area to the sitz bones and tailbone. As we breathe out, the core supporting muscles in this area of the torso, activate to help power the out breath. They are squeezing gently the “core”, “centre” or “powerhouse” and echoing the action of the diaphragm to help push the air out of the body.
What are the actual muscles we call the core muscles ?
The muscles involved in supporting the out breath and the ‘core’ of the body are the deepest layer of the abdominals, called the transverse abs, the pelvic floor muscles, the deep back muscles close to the spine called mutifidus and the diaphragm. These powerhouse or core muscles stabilise the spine and pelvis through a complex web of fascial and muscular connections. Together these connections activate to protect the lumbar spine and pelvis from the everyday stresses of running, jumping, lifting, bending, sitting and twisting.
How are breath and core strength connected ?
Strengthening the core in Pilates is achieved by using the breath as an entry point to feel and control the core muscles. Pilates also uses a series of targeted ‘pre-Pilates’ exercises to strengthen the core before more advanced workouts begin like the Pilates Reformer workouts.The core and Pilates’ approach to the core muscles is the first step in owning your long-term recovery from many types of back pain and back issues. Looking after the core through Pilates practice on the mat and Reformer / studio equipment, is also the foundation for integrative or whole body strength, bone strength and strong joints and limbs.