Why is our core important? What is neutral spine and neutral pelvis?
Why is our core important you may ask, ever since I started my Pilates journey I didn’t entirely undertand this myself. Our core or also known as your “ powerhouse” is very important that it is strong in order to take on a daily tasks and activities. If this is not strong our back tends to take over as it usually does when our load is heavy. In order to strengthen our core we must understand what it intails.
In Pilates we learn how to connect our transverse abdominus, otherwise known as your pelvic floor. By connecting these muscles we now stabilize our back extensors. It is very important that these muscles stay connected while doing exercise, eventually we do incorporate it in our day to day activities. But lets just start by doing it while we exercise. Our core should dictate our movement, whether we are lifting an arm or leg our powerhouse needs to work or should I say stabilize so our movement can be performed more effectively. Naturally by connecting your core you are automatically taking the load off your back extensors so they can work instead of strain during movement. Thus allowing our back to strengthen and work instead of getting that dull ache we all hate during exercise.
How do we connect our core?
The easiest is for you to lie down on you back with knees bent. I want you to imagine you are really desperate for the toilet, now imagine you are holding your wee back. It’s a gentle squeeze, you don’t want to be squeezing to a point where you can’t breathe. The challenging part is to keep this connection throughout your training session. A good way to practice, when you drive, and you pull up to a red robot connect your core and try hold it until the robot turns green. The more you do this or practice it the easier it will become.
To add to this we need to make sure we are in neutral spine and neutral pelvis, what is this you make ask? I want you to lie down with knees bent, place the palm of your hand on your hips and your finger tips on your pubic bone. Tilt your hips away from you, creating and arch in your back ( picture a) this is called an anterior tilt , then I want you to tilt them back as much as you can so you create a flat back on the mat as in picture b, this is called a posterior tilt. Neutral spine and neutral pelvis is found in between the two. From your posterior tilt I want you to slowly release the pelvis until your palms and finger tips are in line with one another. This is neutral spine and neutral pelvis.
You are now ready to start your exercise routine. It is important to maintain neutral pelvis throughout your training routine as well as keeping your core connected. These are fundamentals that we need to remember.