Pilates to Strengthen Your Core
For some people, exercise routines focus on weight loss or building muscle. For others, their mission is to increase strength, improve balance, stamina and flexibility. If the latter is your goal in the gym, then working your body ‘core’ is where you should spend your time.
We rely on our bodies for everything: when we get out of bed in the morning, get dressed, go to work, play with the kids, and when we work up a sweat in the weight room. That’s why it’s important to take care of our body every day with regular exercise, nutritious food, lots of water, exercise, and ample rest, our core is pertinent to our overall well-being. Between the office, family time, and reps at the gym, our body is what enables us to do what we do best in life.
Your body’s core is the midsection of your body, from your groin to your shoulders which includes the pelvis, abs, back and chest muscles. While our limbs provide mobility, reach and strength, it is our core that offers stability, balance and flexibility for most activities. In fact, every movement you make originates in the core, so if the core is not properly conditioned, it will limit your physical abilities, this is where Pilates can show numerous benefits.
Athletic Conditioning of the Core
There are many exercise routines that work the muscles of the body core. Professional strength coaches and personal trainers are known to create customized routines to enhance an athlete’s abilities by developing the proper core muscles. However, there are also many programs developed for individuals who wish to incorporate it into their fitness routine or to begin one. Pilates-based exercises help improve performance, reduce injury, and relieve stress. Unlike other hardcore strength training regimens that focus more specifically on muscle mass, Pilates focuses on re-balancing your muscles around the joints, improving your alignment and flexibility. There is also a huge emphasis on strengthening the core muscles, lending to mind-body awareness as a whole.
Benefits of Core Training
Pilates helps build strong, healthy muscles, improves blood flow, and engages the proper muscles at the right time. It works your body inside and out for optimal body conditioning and is ideal for anyone wanting to expand their exercise regimens to include some strengthening moves that also work the inner mechanism of the body.
Most Pilates workouts begin in a supine, lying on the back, position, and then progress to sitting, or standing when stability increases, and can then carry over into the sporting realm. This allows the athlete to train or retrain muscles, then transfer movement patterns to outside the practice environment and into the sport-specific skill. Core strengthening is also an integral component of any injury prevention, rehabilitation, or sports performance program.
Increased Flexibility and Overall Stamina
Pilates is effective because it trains all three functional muscle systems. Trainers can encourage their athletes to stabilize the joints effectively at low loads, and then progress to strengthening eccentrically, which will control deceleration movements by using the global stabilizers and finally progressing to the larger global mobilizers, with the inherent joint stability already in place.
Because Pilates works on a controlled lengthening of the muscles, it can be beneficial in assisting overall flexibility. Also, the emphasis on breathing as one of the principles can aid an athlete in focusing during their game, and control precise movements required for their sport.
It’s a Core Thing
Strengthening the core is an important function for everyday activities. Over the past couple of decades, the original form of Pilates has been refined to meet the demands of today’s fitness needs. When all muscular systems work in a timely and coordinated fashion, exercisers can achieve large gains in strength, skill, coordination, and efficiency. Pilates focuses on improving stabilization of the lumbar and pelvic region, and the theory is that improved core stability gained through Pilates training will carry over into the sporting realm by reducing the risk of injury and improving performance.
Good core strength is important at every age and fitness level. So whatever your goals, find a way to incorporate body core conditioning into your routine to reduce fatigue, avoid muscle strain and improve your strength and mobility.