The next Pilates Essentials point to consider are your core muscles!
These are made up of four abdominal muscles – Transversus Abdominus, Internal and External Obliques and the Rectus Abdominis. The Transversus or “TVA” is the deepest and has the most muscle fibres directed around the abdominal wall which creates a “muscular corsette” or “girdle of strength” as it is referred to in Pilates.
The TVA assists in stabilising the spine along with the pelvic floor muscles and the diaphragm and is a postural muscle which means it can only work to 20/30% of its maximum. Below I will explain how to engage your TVA to 30%.
Standing or Lying
We only want to engage our TVA by 30% as this is a postural muscle and would tire quickly if you engaged it 100%.
Imagine you have a belt around your waist which has 10 notches. Do up the belt at the 10th notch pulling your belly button into your spine as hard as you can. This may feel uncomfortable and you may find it hard to breathe. This engagement is 100%. Let this go. Do up belt again to 100% then let the belt out to the 5th notch, this is 50% engagement. Now let the belt out 2 more notches to the 3rd notch and maintain this feeling. You have now engaged your TVA by 30%.
If you are interested in attending a regular Pilates class, my Pilates classes are held on Monday and Wednesday evenings in Woking. They are suitable for both beginners and intermediates.