Do you sometimes wonder what your core is meant to be made up of?

In Pilates -the core can be compared to a corset or girdle of muscles surrounding the mid-section of the body. The core acts to stabilise the pelvis & lower back during everyday tasks such as sitting, lifting & walking and during exercise. The main muscles are the TA muscles (tranversus abdominus), spinal muscles and pelvic floor – also included are the rectus abdominus ( also referred to as the ‘6 pack’ – whether you can see any of them or not!?) The obliques (your side abs). – Having weakness in the core can make you more prone to lower back pain and injury.-In a typical class, we focus on core stability so engaging these muscles to keep the spine & pelvis stable while we move our limbs through a controlled range – this both stabilises and strengthens the core. We can also specifically target core strength with exercises examples of this are where we raise the trunk in flexion lifting the chest up to work the abdominal muscles or raise the torso in flexion to perform the one hundred.There are plenty of other exercise in pilates that aim to challenge the core muscles too

Your Pelvic Floor: Not just for women (men need to know this too!)

I think you knew the pelvic floor (PF) chat was coming😯…no eye rolling pls! Its the internal muscles we cue in pilates ( think back passage through to front passage) and it’s not just an exercise for the women – men also should be exercising the PF.
Exercising and strengthening this muscle can help us with an overactive bladder ie the sudden need to urinate, frequently needing a wee or sometimes just not quite getting to the toilet in time! It can also help alleviate stress incontinence ie leaking when you cough, laugh or exercise; (some runners can experience this).
The PF is a layer of muscles that stretch from the pubic bone to the tailbone and from side to side. They help control your bladder and bowel and relax when you go to the toilet and activate when you laugh, cough or sneeze to help prevent any leakage.
Like any muscle they weaken; regularly exercising them will strengthen them to improve bladder control and leakage. – Its difficult to find these muscles and isolate them – you shouldn’t be able to see any movement on the outside so  you can exercise them anywhere try not to pull your tummy in, no squeezing thighs together and no buttock clenching or holding the breath, try keeping them all as relaxed as possible, gently breathing..you will feel a slight pull in of the lower tummy as your pelvic floor draws up & in.
Here’s how to do it (you could do it now…no-one will know! 😉)
First tighten (squeeze) the muscles around ur back passage, as if you’re trying to stop yourself passing wind. While holding this squeeze, tighten around the front too as if you’re trying to stop yourself mid-wee. It should feel like a ‘squeeze and lift’ inside. After each ‘squeeze and lift’ make sure you fully relax your muscles by letting them go. Now try squeezing and holding for as long as you can – you may only manage 3-4 secs for now but as you practice ( daily) you’re aiming to progress to hold for 10 secs. – Build up to 3 sets of 10 squeezes, holding each squeeze for 10secs, resting for 4 secs between each. Take time to make this a permanent daily exercise; performed correctly you should feel some improvement after a few weeks

 

The Pelvic floor (not just a female thing)

I think you knew the Pelvic Floor (PF) chat was coming😯…no eye rolling pls! Its the internal muscles we often cue in pilates ( think back passage through to front passage) and it’s not just something to be performed during class. It’s also not just an exercise for women – men also should be exercising the PF.
Exercising and strengthening this muscle can help us with an overactive bladder ie a sudden urgency to urinate, frequently needing to wee or sometimes not quite getting to the toilet in time! It can also help alleviate stress incontinence ie leaking when you cough or exercise (some joggers can experience this).
The pelvic floor is a layer of muscles that stretch from the pubic bone to the tailbone and from side to side. They help control your bladder and bowel and relax when you go to the toilet and activate when you laugh, cough or sneeze to help prevent any leakage.
Like any muscle they weaken; regularly exercising them will strengthen them to improve bladder control and leakage. – Its difficult to find these muscles and isolate them – you shouldn’t be able to see any movement on the outside so no pulling in your tummy, no squeezing thighs together and no buttock clenching or holding the breath, try keeping them all as relaxed as possible and breathing gently; you will feel a slight pull in of the lower tummy as your pelvic floor connects/draws in and up.
Here’s how to do it (you could do it now…no-one will kno! 😉)
First tighten (squeeze) the muscles around your back passage, as if you’re trying to stop yourself passing wind. While holding this squeeze, tighten around to the front too as if you’re trying to stop yourself mid-wee. It should feel like a ‘squeeze and lift’ inside. After each ‘squeeze and lift’ make sure you fully relax your muscles by letting them go. Now try squeezing and holding for as long as you can – you may only manage 3-4 secs for now but as you practice (daily) you’re aiming to hold for 10 secs.- Build up to 3 sets of 10 squeezes, holding each squeeze for 10secs, resting for 4 secs between each squeeze.
Go on give it a go!