Centering is one of the six fundamental aspects of Pilates. The idea of engaging your ‘Center’ or ‘Power House’ is often referred to as having ‘core control’.
The core muscles can be thought of as a cylinder or barrel of support around the spine. This group of muscles provides stability for the spine, starting with the Pelvic Floor deep in the Pelvis, as the base up to the Respiratory Diaphragm inside the rib cage, as the lid.
When these core muscles are working effectively as a stabilizing girdle, the whole body is able to move in a more controlled and strong manner through many ranges of motion.
The core muscles can be divided into two groups that work together:
The ‘Inner Core’ is made up of smaller muscles that are deep inside the torso, attached to the spine and/or pelvis. They provide a background level of near constant activation to provide stability for the spine.
The ‘Outer Core’ is made up of larger more superficial muscles that support the Inner Core and engage to instigate larger movements of the trunk and body.
If your inner core muscles are not functioning properly then your body will compensate by recruiting muscles from the outer core or elsewhere to try to stabilize your spine, leaving you vulnerable to pain, injury or dysfunction.
Muscles of the Inner Core
Pelvic floor: Is made of group of muscles deep in the pelvis. They attach to the pelvis at the front and side, and to the coccyx at the back to form a funnel shaped sling. It supports the abdominal and pelvic viscera.
Internal and External Obliques: These muscles are more superficial. They help to flex the torso forwards when working in bilateral pairs and when working unilaterally on one side or the other, they enable the torso to flex and/or rotate sideways. The Obliques have a crucial role in supporting the Inner Core.
Rectus Abdominis (the six pack): The Rectus Abdominis is a large flat muscle that runs up the centre of the abdomen. It starts at the pubic bone of the Pelvis and widens as it covers the fifth, sixth and seventh ribs and then attaches to the bottom of the Sternum. The Rectus Abdominis can produce strong flexion of the torso.
Published by Pauline Ward
Business Owner and Fitness Professional
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Beil, Andrew 2010 edition Trail Guide to the Body Books of Discovery
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