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Style Pilates Newsletter :: February 2007

Style Pilates News and Events :: February 2007

The Core Muscles & The Pilates Powerhouse


Anatomy of the Abdominal Wall

Twenty-nine muscles make up your body's core.
Some of the major muscles include those in your back (multifidus, erector spinae) and your abdomen (external oblique, transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis).
Your core muscles work in harmony to provide stability to your body and protect you from injury.


Not sure what muscle groups are included in your abdominals ? Here's a primer :


1. Rectus abdominis (the so-called "six-pack" located between the lower ribs and breast bone and the pubic bone).
They stabilize the pelvis and help to flex and rotate the lumbar area of the spine.
How to activate : Perform a basic crunch or a pelvic tilt. (A "pelvic tilt" is accomplished by drawing the abdominal muscles toward the spine as you tilt the hipbones forward while also squeezing the butt muscles. Return to neutral after a count of two.)


2. External and internal obliques (which slant along the side of our torso both over and under the rib cage) stabilize the pelvis and lumbar region of the spine and help with twisting the trunk and bending from side to side.
How to activate : Perform any exercise involving a twisting motion.


3. Transverse abdominis (the deepest fibers of the entire abdominal group and primary ones for spine stability) act as a natural weight belt across the hip joint.
How to activate : Pull the belly button toward the spine.


4. Erector spinea and multifidus are the other muscles that work closely with the abdominal group.
These muscles and help stabilize the spine, strengthen the trunk and maintain good posture.


Strength training and conditioning specialists know that the body is a synergistic machine where everything must work together to achieve high performance with minimum risk for injury.
These muscles are designed to stabilize us as we move through life rotating, twisting and turning.



Quiz

4 questions :: 2 minutes

[1] After committing to exercise for an entire year, you have reduced both your weight and your fat percentage. There are many positive effects of this accomplishment. Which of the following is not affected by your reduction of weight and fat ?
[a] The rate and amount of fat metabolized.
[b] Your upper body and abdominal visceral fat.
[c] Your total daily energy expenditure.
[d] Your blood sugar count.


[2] When you're sweating, ___________ goes down, and __________ goes up.
[a] weight / the muscle mass of the exercised region
[b] water volume / adrenaline
[c] your concentration/ your susceptibility to injury
[d] blood volume / the concentration of salts in your blood


[3] The area in which you store your fat is probably as important as the amount that you store. People who store fat around their bellybutton area are at greater risk for certain diseases than people who store fat below the waistline. Which diseases are the bellybutton storers more susceptible to ?
[a] coronary heart disease and diabetes.
[b] breast cancer and prostate cancer.
[c] osteoporosis and diabetes.
[d] breast cancer and osteoporosis.


[4] When designing your exercise program, there are four basic types of exercise that you can do. Which of the following is NOT one of these basic types ?
[a] muscular endurance.
[b] coordination.
[c] flexibility.
[d] strength.


Submit Answers

Exercise of the Month

Pilates on the Mat :: Double Straight Leg Stretch

Begin to lie on your back with your hands behind your head and your legs extended and lifted directly over your hips, perpendicular to the floor (heels are touching).
Flex your toes toward you, turn your feet out slightly (in pilates stance position), and curl the chin and upper body up off the mat, looking between your thighs. The tips of the shoulder blades touch the mat.


Inhale while lowering slowly your legs toward the floor at a 45 degree angle (don't arch your back).
Exhale while lifting slowly the legs back up.
Try to keep both legs straight.
Begin with few repetitions, and work up to 10 repetitions.


Modifications for this exercise include leaving the head down, bending the knees slightly, and increasing or decreasing the range of motion of the legs' movement.

The lower the legs, the harder the abdominals have to work to maintain alignment.
If you choose to increase difficulty, you must be able to use your abdominals to keep your lower back from popping up off the mat.

Try to get a nice smooth and slow rhythm going with the breath and the movement of the legs.


Works the abdominal muscles.


Geraldine Marques-Frediani :: Professional Pilates Instructor
[ tel ]       08 9521 2616  [ +66 8 9521 2616 ]
[ email ]  stylepilates[at]gmail.com