One of the key things we mention in all of our classes at bodyBEgood, is 'your core'. You'll often hear me saying "switch on your core", or "activate your core", and you might think "Ok... But, um, how?"
When we talk about your core, we are referring to the area of your torso that is contained between the following parts:
- Your diaphragm (the big breathing muscle under your ribs) is the roof
- Your deep abdominals form the front wall
- Your deep back muscles, particularly Multifidus, form the back wall
- and your Pelvic Floor, of course, is the floor.
A strong & stable CORE supports your spine, pelvis, & internal organs. Good core = good you.
The main part of the core that we refer to in our Pilates classes, is the front part, the Deep Abdominals.
So how do you 'switch on this area'?
Your deep abdominal muscle is called Transversus Abdomens (T. A.), and it sits below your belly button, running sideways, This muscle is a very important part of your core.
The best way to ‘activate’ your T.A. is:
- Lie on your back, with your knees bent comfortably, and your feet on the floor.
- Using your fingertips, find those pointy hip bones at the front of your pelvis, then move your fingers towards the middle a few centimetres.
- Try and imagine that you are ‘drawing your hip bones towards each other’, so that you can feel the area between your hip bones gently tighten. You should feel a little change in tension under your fingertips. It is a gentle contraction, not a big ‘suck’.
- Try to keep your breathing regular, and keep your shoulders/neck/chest relaxed.
- Aim to hold that contraction for around 10 seconds, then let everything relax.
- It is a gentle, light effort exercise, that shouldn't involve any straining or sweating.
Keep practicing - this does get easier! Once you have mastered this basic core exercise, we can build on introducing strength work for the rest of the body!