People practice Pilates for many different reasons, from general fitness, prevention and treatment of back pain to keeping themselves agile and strong, the list goes on. That’s because Pilates has something to offer people of all ages and levels of ability and fitness, from beginners to elite athletes. The techniques and apparatus can be used to provide support for beginners and people with certain medical conditions, as well as resistance for people looking to challenge and develop their body.
There is definitely one benefit that everyone will get from doing Pilates, and that’s core strength. But why is this a benefit?
The first thing we need to look at is what core strength is. Many people think it relates only to the rectus abdominals however, it involves additional deeper muscles as well. It’s the ability to maintain correct spine alignment/shoulder girdle position and pelvic position whilst moving the limbs. The deep core muscles trained in Pilates are what we rely on to support a strong, supple back, good posture, and efficient movement patterns. When the core is strong, the frame of the body is supported. This means the rest of the muscles and joints are able to do their jobs, instead of compensating, causing stress and sometimes pain.
How Pilates creates a strong core
Core muscles do all the work in Pilates
All the muscles associated with the core are switched on during Pilates. Most people do sit-ups and other variations thinking they are training their core. In actual fact, they are only using the outer layers of their abdominals, and often the hip flexors to move, they are not doing the isolations required in true Pilates moves. The core strength muscles you need to activate are much deeper and also include some lower back muscles. Breath work helps you focus so that you hone in on these muscles, as well as the outer layers of the abdominals, and then repetition helps you perfect the move.
Pilates uses your core muscles in EVERY exercise
That’s why repetition is so important in Pilates, your core muscles are used in every movement, even stretching. And then you just repeat and repeat for perfection. Repetition is used because it would be impossible to have these muscles engaged 100% of the time so by repeating you have a higher chance of turning these muscles on for at least 30% of the time.
Variety keeps it interesting
There are so many exercises in Pilates that specifically target the core and each one is designed to challenge the core in different ways. Pilates has evolved significantly since Joseph Pilates published his book in 1945 and today there are many variations to teach in a class that all rely on the principles of Pilates.
Pilates offers more than just strength and a flat tummy
Of course everyone appreciates having a flat tummy and feeling strong in their core. But Pilates exercises give you more benefits than just what is aesthetically pleasing. Using the techniques taught in Pilates, core training also helps to relieve back pain and improve posture and balance, making daily activities easier and less strenuous on the back.
Pilates can be taught on a one-to-one basis or in group classes, on mats or Reformer machines. If you have a health condition that may require close attention, check with the Pilates teacher that the class is suitable.
Active Mind Body have introduced a Pilates Core & Stretch class, this 45 minute mat class is about effective core strength training and is suitable for all levels. You will be targeting and training the Transversus Abdominis and Pelvic Floor. Try our special Intro Offer of of Five classes for $50 – choose from Yoga, Barre, and Pilates Reformer Classes and book a Pilates Core class today