One of the key element of Pilates is ‘setting your centre’. In every day speak that means getting all your deep abdominal & pelvic muscles working together in harmony! This action forms the basis of many Pilates exercises. It sounds easy but can take some practice to get it right!
Start by lying on your back in a rest position and finding a neutral spine position.
Finding neutral spine position
- Place your thumbs in your belly button, your fingertips on the pubic bone and flatten the heels of your hands onto the bony pelvic bones to form a diamond shape – the pelvic diamond.
- Tilt the pelvic diamond away from you to exaggerate the arch in your lower back.
- Tilt the pelvic diamond towards you to flatten your back.
- Repeat these gentle tilting movement a few more times.
- Now position the pelvic diamond in the middle of these two positions – this is your neutral spine position.
Setting your centre with abdominals muscles
- Feel your deep abdominal corset by placing your fingertips on your bony pelvic bones and then sliding your fingertips in and down 4cm.
- Now imagine your deep abdominal muscles forming a natural corset, criss-crossing the torso in layers. There are 10 notches in this corset, below the belly button, just like a belt. Breathe in to prepare, breathe out all the way and before the next breath in slowly and gently draw in the muscular corset from below the belly button onto the third notch.
- You should feel the muscles under your fingertips subtly draw away.
- Hold your centre and keep breathing normally. Less is better – the contraction is very gentle so don’t over do it.
Setting your centre with pelvic floor muscles
- Gently draw your pelvic floor muscles in and up to hold your bladder from emptying.
- Now breathe normally and try to keep that engagement in your pelvic floor muscles.
- Now place your fingertips onto your deep abdominal muscles. You may also feel the muscles under your fingertips gently draw away – this is normal!
You should practice both the abdominal and pelvic floor elements and combining them.
Once you’ve mastered it laying down, you can also practice it standing up or sitting.
If you’re interested in finding out more about clinical pilates give us a call on 023 8025 3317. We have a full timetable of classes, for all levels of ability.