Updated: Jul 21
A Pilates Core Work-Out
“The Core” has been the BUZZ WORD for work-outs for several years. This created a big boom in a new era of work-outs from Pilates classes, to Gym classes, kick-boxing and etc. Unfortunately, as with many things, the phrase "The Core" and its actual meaning have become diluted over the years.
"Core" Questions to Consider
What do you think of when you hear your "Core"? Most likely your stomach, right? Did you know you have 4 layers of stomach muscles? And why is it we want a strong core?
A Core Breakdown
Starting with the last question first...
1. Why do we want a strong core?
Probably the #1 reason is to look good! Alongside that answer, we want to help the back and have better posture. These are all good answers. Some other reasons you may not realize you need a strong core are:
- it can help you move better and prevent joint/soft tissue/muscle injury, as a properly engaged core suspends your weight off the joints, reducing wear and tear - it is a great cross-trainer! If you have repetitive motions exercise/sports such as running well you are usually working only a few different muscles (most runners its quadriceps and hip flexors). In order to have a properly engaged core, alignment must be in place. An aligned body will engage your entire muscle structure differently, giving more endurance to those repetitive muscles.
2. What are the 4 layers of muscles (superficial to deep)
a. Rectus Abdominus (this is your 6 pack area...or your once-was-a-6 pack area 😊) - this helps flexion but is not a “core muscle” even though most work-outs will distinguish it as such(see why its not in Q&A #3 below) b. External Oblique: sits on front and sides of the trunk with functions of: - a respiratory muscle particularly exhale - side-bending (same side) and rotation (opposite side) c. Internus Oblique: found on the lateral side of the abdomen with functions of: - an accessory muscle to respiration to increase lung volume - Ipsilateral side-bending and rotation d. Transverse Abdominus: 1 of the 4 Core Muscles that sits most interior to the body, closest to the spine and when its contracted brings in a contraction around the full circumference of the waist, flattening the tummy and creating a natural lower back girdle
3. What is your Inner Core?
The Core is more than your stomach, it’s a group of muscles (see below) that work in conjunction to carry/suspend/hold you up off the spine and limb joints; both in static posture and while your body is in motion. This co-contraction of Core Muscles allows for effective alignment, keep joints moving well, strengthening and creating endurance for your entire body that you can use for your fitness and daily activities.
The Inner Core Team consist of:
Respiratory muscles: diaphragm, intercostals and MANY accessory muscles. This is an excellent video by Roger Fiammetti displaying respiration in action (with subtitles).
Transverse Abdominus (see above) Anterior Pelvic Floor (aka Kegel): allows your body to absorb outside pressure (from lifting, coughing, etc.) in a way that protects your spine and your organs Multifidi: this group of muscles sit closely against the spine, assisting in holding the spine upright in a suspended way to keep body pressure off the joints, extend the spine, same-side side bending and opposite side rotation.
Have You Discovered Your Inner Core?
If you haven’t discovered or have lost your core down the way, it’s never too late to find it or get it back! CoeDynamics Functional Health & Pilates offers New Client Private and Transformation specials, as well as small group sessions in Redondo Beach and online. All of our programs ensure that you achieve a full Core Activity in your session(s) and to carry it with you throughout your week. This is what Linda, CoeDynamics client of 8 years of Pilates Group sessions, has to say…
“I love the feeling of strength that I feel when I finish a Pilates session with Tracy…her cues stay with me as I move through the day, reinforcing correct posture and activating core muscles.”
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Tracy Coe, cPT-PMA, c-QRA, c-EMF Functional Health & Nutrition Practitioner CoeDynamics
Since 2002, Tracy Coe has been guiding people from all walks of life to look and feel GREAT, through her education and practice as a PMA- certified Pilates Teacher and as a certified-QRA, EMF Functional Health and Nutrition Practitioner. Tracy applies her continuous education and 21 years of clientele practice to support the individual, family and community. Tracy’s practice offers education and guidance in fitness programming, a nutrient dense diet, safe cleansing, toxicity prevention and creating EMF energetic harmony of your surrounding environments. In effect, allowing the body and mind to restore balance for health prevention, physical transformation, addressing specific short / long term health issues and offer vibrant living.
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