How an unstable core causes lost power

Oct 21, 2020
 

Engaging your core is a term that is frequently used these days. However, I often meet people or see people who do not really understand what the core is or how to engage it properly.

They are often told that it will automatically engage when certain exercises are done. However, to develop maximum core strength in your body you need to understand how to correctly engage it too.

The core is everything from your shoulders to your butt – in essence, it is your torso. Today we’re going to focus in on your core abdominal muscles. 

These are the four main abdominals:

  • Rectus abdominis: This long, flat muscle runs all the way from your pubic bone to your rib cage – think 6 pack. 
  • External and internal obliques: These run on a diagonal and help you twist and rotate your torso.
  • Transverse abdominis: These are your deep stabilising abdominals and are the abs we focus on strengthening and engaging in Pilates.

Let’s engage your core!

These deep abdominal muscles are like a big girdle that wrap around the body to support the back and stabilise the pelvis. Stand up, put your hands on your belly and now pull your stomach away from your fingers. You will feel your waist get smaller – when you ‘pull your belly in’ you’re engaging all of these abdominals.

Refer to the video at the top of this editorial and let's PRACTICE this now.

Stand as tall as you can – watch your shoulders don't lift. Think about how much you can lift your ribs away from your hips. See how automatically your abdominals have engaged to hold this position?

Pilates will teach you to effectively engage your abdominals and will improve their strength so that you can maintain this great posture. This abdominal strength will benefit athletes in a number of ways:

  • It will enable you to train and compete with a long straight back which will reduce the likelihood of low back pain. Essentially, we always want a long spine with the belly scooped in and up.
  • It improves your core and pelvic stability which enables you to generate maximum power and speed.

The outcome is less pain, more stability and more power output!

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