The days of simple sit-ups and crunches are gone.
But this is good news!
By learning how to engage your core muscles, specifically the transverse abdominis (TA) and pelvic floor, you’ll see quicker and BETTER results.
So how do you properly engage your core to see these results?
Find your muscles first
Practice engaging the TA and pelvic floor while lying on your mat. No crunches, no sit ups, just lie on your mat and practice by imagining a corset wrapping around your waist. Place your fingers inside of your hip bones and see if you can feel your deep core muscles tightening and engaging.
If you’re new to Pilates or have recently been pregnant, be patient with yourself. There is a mind to muscle connection that takes time to develop.
Engage your TA
Sucking in your belly and holding your breath is not the proper way to engage your core. When you suck in, you send pressure up and pressure down. Instead, focus on your “TA” – a deep core muscle that acts as a corset. When you imagine drawing the TA in from 360 degrees, the trunk is stabilized and the entire core system becomes stronger. 💪
Lift the pelvic floor
As you gently engage or “wrap” the TA, you also want to imagine lifting the pelvic floor. This is why you often hear the cue “up and in” during a Pilates class. The best analogy I’ve heard is to imagine that you’re drinking a smoothie through a straw in your vaginal muscles (🤔😳). Kind of weird I know, but it helps!
Maintain proper alignment
Perhaps the biggest mistake I see people making is that they’re working their “abs” but they are not focusing on the rest of the body. If your body is out of alignment, you cannot work your muscles in an effective way. It’s ALL connected, so maintaining proper alignment will help you to engage your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles in the most effective way.
Questions? Let me know in the comments & let’s chat!