The Core Muscles & The Pilates Powerhouse
by Geraldine Marques-Frediani, Professional Pilates Trainer
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.