Transverse Abdominals

Pilates in Sydney CBD

Sydney Physiotherapy Solutions has a dedicated Pilates Studio and expert, caring instructors who are all experienced physiotherapists.

We offer a wide variety of classes from beginner to advanced and have something for everyone. There are private and duet sessions, mat classes and classes utilising the pilates equipment such as the reformer and trapeze table. We also offer specialist classes for ante-natal clients, runners, cyclists and men’s health.

Clients are required to undergo a thorough assessment before commencing pilates with us & this allows the instructor to tailor exercises specifically for you.

Clinical Pilates – Getting the best results

In most situations, Pilates is set up as a low impact form of exercise focused on the recruitment, integration and co-ordination of deep spinal and pelvic stabilising muscles.  Sometimes, however,  just a subtle error in technique, posture or execution could compromise all good intentions.

In the clinical pilates studio we see some common errors & I would like to point these out in the hope that your sessions will become more beneficial.

 Getting into a ‘Neutral Spine’   – this refers to the position of your ribs and lower back relative to your pelvis.  Completely flattening your spine, (very common trick!), or letting your back arch too much, can lead to cumulative and unnecessary stress on your spine. Ideally you would have the base of the ribs and the hip bones in alignment as you work in any posture.  This reduces the loading to the joints, discs and muscles around the lower back, and allows a stable base for your core muscles to work from.  This should be applied in the set up of all exercises and ideally through the day as well.

Practice rolling the hips forward and back to either extreme, then settle somewhere in the middle.  Try to apply this to all postures through the day.  Before you know it – you will be setting it automatically!

Virginia Sherriff June 2014

Clinical Pilates – Engaging Transverse Abdominals

So in a follow up to my previous posting, I thought I would move on to the next most common mistake we see in the Studio, and hopefully help to reduce it happening.

It relates to the whole concept of ‘pulling in your core’.  I am sure you have all heard it said in the gym, your personal training sessions,  and of course from your Physio & Pilates Instructors.  But what exactly does that entail?  How do we do it?  And most importantly, how do we know we are doing it right???

When you are instructed to ‘pull in your core’ , or told you need to ‘strengthen your Abs’ it just feels right to give it everything in the tank and suck everything in .  But alas, no.  The Transverse (deep) Abdominals play a huge role in posture and stabilisation of your spine, and as such are designed for endurance – ‘the long haul’.  Aside from most likely not being able to breathe and going blue, you’ll find you can’t sustain a full contraction for very long.  Research tells us that working our core at 20% is about right if we want it to work consistently and continuously throughout the day.   If it helps, think of subtly drawing in your belly button  in towards your spine, as if you are trying to fit into a slightly tight pair of trousers.  As your bodies’ very clever natural corset, it should feel like you are applying a gentle brace around your pelvis.   This in turn will stiffen the region around your lower back/hips and pelvis and therefore create stability in preparation for movement.

Watch this space for the next instalment!

Virginia Sherriff. June 2014