Strengthening your core doesn’t end with a few Pilates classes a week. It begins there and its where we begin to build awareness and core strength. In my work I encourage AWARENESS not only for the 1-3 hours a week you are with me, but every day while you are standing sitting or walking.
From the set up to the way the ball leaves the hand, the movements are controlled and precise. Using the shoulder of the non-pitching as their gunsight, the lower body for power and hopefully the center for control. A good pitcher knows how to activate the core and use it to not only provide power, but to place the ball exactly where it needs to be.
Lets be honest. As we approach 50 and above we all look at our faces and bodies to examine the signs of aging. I rarely have clients tell me they are happy with what they see and use cosmetics and all different means to look as good as they can. But it is through core strength and body awareness that we can maintain our physical best internally and externally.
For anyone who has ever worked with me in a private session or group they have heard these and many more familiar instructions in the course of our Pilates work. It is in the details of each movement that distinguishes Pilates from mere exercise. For instance sit ups are a universal exercise and can be done anywhere and without any assistance. But those just tighten the exterior muscles of the abdomen.
I have new clients come to the studio and say "Lily, I have been doing core work for a long long time and while I feel like I'm in good shape, my belly seems distended and hard." I tell them they have been breathing incorrectly and that for true core strength and flat abs, they need to think about breathing differently.
Good news! It is absolutely possible if your posture resembles the woman on the left to look like the woman on the right. Everyday for over 25 years I see this issue at the studio and we are helping people understand the landscape of their body and change the way they carry themselves. No one is helping us understand how our bodies are actually structured and the mechanics behind the structure.
There is much talk these days about primal spine and posture training, but what does this really mean and can it change our everyday lives?? Before we start this discussion we need to understand the meaning of a ‘neutral spine’ – and yes, everyone can and should have a neutral spine. Depending upon postural differences and imbalances – everyone’s neutral spine will be different but a strong core is essential in having a neutral spine – I am not referring to the popular ‘six pack’ muscles. I’m referring to the deepest layer of muscle that wraps around us like a girdle called the transverse abdominus. Strengthening this muscle allows us to be in a neutral spine position for our everyday lives. We can never cure structural imbalances like scoliosis or osteoporosis-but we can strengthen the muscles that support the structure so that there is proper muscular support for these postural imbalances.