Last week I described what the core is. Now we need to find our core muscles, which is not always easy if they are very weak. If we can experience engaging them during the course of our day we build up core endurance. We want these muscles to fire up and be able to stay fired up. The core muscles are mainly comprised of slow twitch muscle fibres, don’t worry too much about the term but suffice to say that marathon runners have more slow twitch muscles fibres and sprinters have more fast twitch muscle fibres. The slow twitch fibres enable the muscle to stay fired up for a longer duration and are programmed for endurance. We need our core muscles to be able to fire up and stay fired up but they need training for that. In class, we do a variety of core exercises. The plank is, of course, one that springs to mind but other core exercises are scattered through the class and even when balancing on the roller or green ball you are firing up your core otherwise you fall off!
So how do we find our core? Pilates is famous for visualisation and so here we go. Imagine I am going to punch you in the stomach! As you brace you should feel the abdominal muscles tighten and lift. You can do this more gradually by drawing your navel to your spine and lifting it underneath your heart, you should also feel the pelvic floor lift. Another way, imagine you are walking into cold sea, there they are or walking onto a beach in your bikini or seeds and you see someone you fancy! Hopefully, you found something there to help you.
Now you need a prompt to remind you to engage your core throughout your week. Perhaps seeing a certain colour car if you drive a lot or do it every time you wash your hands or make a cup of tea. Something that you do or see that will make you respond by drawing your navel to your spine and bracing your abdomen. That way we will all get stronger from the inside out and our spines will be more supported. If you could do this every hour it would really help.