Every apple has a core right? (yes, I know this is up for discussion but let's just go with it for the sake of this example).
Imagine yourself as an apple, simply put your core is your centre and holds you together.
Your core is the powerhouse of the moving body. Although your abdominal muscles make up a significant portion of your core, there are many more muscles included. Essentially your entire torso, including your chest, abdominal muscles, pelvis, and even some back muscles make up your core.
Having a strong and stable core will improve your balance and posture and the overall quality of your movement will improve.
So what does it mean to have a strong core? Is it having a six pack? I hate to break it to you, but, no.
Our six pack muscles (rectus abdominis), are the most superficial of the four abdominal muscles and as a result they can pop up to make us look toned and fit. Sometimes (and I mean sometimes) people with six packs have extremely weak core strength. As a Pilates Instructor you won't hear me talking much about six packs (that's not to say you won't get one though!), instead I focus on working the deeper, lower abdominal muscles.
The transverse abdominis (TA) is deepest of our four abdominal muscles and acts to support our lower back and pelvis. Doctors often refer patients suffering from lower back pain to Pilates as strengthening the TA can provide great results to alleviate back pain and improve spinal strength and mobility.
So are you wondering how you can improve your core strength? The answer is simple. Pilates. In Pilates we isolate and focus on strengthening the core stabilising muscle groups, Here's a simple exercise you can try at home*.
SINGLE LEG LIFTS
Lie on your back on the floor or on a yoga mat (I'm using a Reformer as my mat but you can do this on the floor), knees bent, feet resting flat on the floor and your arms by your side.
- Exhale: lift one leg up moving only at the hip joint, maintaining the angle of the knee
- Inhale: lower leg down
- Repeat 8-10 per leg
- If you'd like to increase the changellenge, alternate from one leg to the other for 8-10 times.
*Always consult your physician before adding any new exercises to your program.