The definition of core is the central or most important part of something. Think of the Earth’s core and how there are many many layers surrounding the core. In the body we have many muscles attached at our core.
Core strength means more than abdominal strength.
If we took our body and looked at it from shoulders to hips we see a lot of connections leading from our center (core) down to our feet and out to our hands. Many muscles have attachment points at our spine for our legs and arms.
The first time I heard about Pilates I was told it would strengthen my core. But what does that mean? When eating an apple we know the core is the center with the seeds. The body’s core is often thought to be the abdominals. Did you know the center of gravity is located near the sacrum? The sacrum is located at the back of the pelvis.
In Pilates it’s important to look beyond our core to learn what’s working and what’s not. This will bring us back to our core. Pilates is a workout that uses all of our muscles in a variety of ways. All muscles work collectively and not one set is overworking.
It’s easy to know if the ‘core’ is weak when doing exercises specifically for the abdominals. We tend to use our back instead and become tired quickly.
I started Pilates after my physical therapy for a running injury. The focus was to strengthen my core for running but the results are more than core strength. In terms of running it provided hip strength, deeper breathing, foot to hip connection, upper body strength, and body awareness.
Coming to Pilates for core strength is like taking your car to be serviced and having more than one problem fixed but not having to pay extra. Say the car needs a tire alignment and you end up with better alignment, inflated tires, a wash and detail, and better brakes.
In the body that means improved posture, increased lung capacity, a full body workout, and balance.