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A very common mistake seen in the Studio is “engaging the core”. 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.