How do you connect to your core? How do you find that abdominal connection?
Most people who attend pilates sessions want to strengthen their core. Using your core correctly and being able to move from a good core connection takes regular consistent practice. It’s not easy and many people give up and progress to exercises that are far too challenging for their core, far too soon. Without correct core control they may risk injury.
I sometimes call the core either trunk or torso control. Not sure about either of these terms, one reminds me of elephants and the other crime scenes! Your core control consists of pelvic floor support which leads to the connection to your transversus muscle. Your transversus muscle is like having your own natural corset to support your lumbar spine. When you feel this contract, it’s like sliding doors coming gently across your lower abdomen. Your core also consists of many other muscles, your upper abdominal muscles, obliques, gluteal muscles in your buttocks, and multifidus (muscles that run the length of your back).
What is also important is that your connection to your core needs to be relative to the movement your are doing. Subtle strength! Bracing your belly button in prevents correct breathing and movement.
Getting kinaesthetic feedback is important, which is why I teach clients using softballs, foam rollers and wobble boards. The pilates equipment such as the reformer and stability chair are brilliant for providing this connection and feedback.
Once you find this trunk stability, we then start connecting the arm and leg movements to your trunk. But that’s another story!