Why It All Starts With Your Core
Washboard abs, or a 6-pack may be something we all dream of having and idolize on others. However, having this kind of midsection definition shouldn’t be the main reason we drop down and do our Pilates “series of 5.”
The abdominals are referred to as the “core” because they are literally the center of our body. Joseph Pilates aptly named the abdominal section of our bodies “the powerhouse” because he believed it was where all our power and strength came from, and was essentially the most important and necessary center of power in our bodies.
When your abdominals are strengthened, many different muscles are targeted. The powerhouse targets the transverse, or deepest layer that wrap around the body like a corset. The rectus abdominals which run vertically and more superficially down the core, and the obliques which wrap down and around the body like hands and help to cinch and tighten our waists. Strengthening these muscles can give us a tight, chiseled midsection but more importantly help support our entire frame and give us power to safely and move, live and help prevent injuries.
Here’s how I think of it: when your abdominals are strong, your pelvis falls more easily into it’s natural alignment. This allows your spine to lift and center up out of your pelvis in the proper way- helping you to stand taller, stronger and feel better. I like to think of a potted plant analogy here. If you abdominals are strong, then your pelvis (or pot) align and your spine (like a lovely plant) lifts up out of it. Make sense?
If the abdominals are strong and can help support and stabilize the discs of the spine, there is less undue pressure put on the discs of the lumbar spine, which can help to relieve back pain and prevent injury. Your properly supported spine will help you stand correctly (without jutting your neck unnaturally forward or in a funky way).
It plays a huge roll in our daily lives as well with activities and things that don’t even come to the forefront of our minds when you think abs, like: bending down to pick up kids or groceries, sleeping, driving, sitting at a desk. Your abdominals help your body to be supported and strong throughout everything we do during the day and night!
So unroll that mat, or do whatever you do to connect to your core, and start working on the fantastic “powerhouse” strength!