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Pilates: Getting to the Core

03‐08‐15

Kristi Leeson is a highly qualified Physiotherapist, Pilates and Xtend Barre instructor. Kristi explains here why core strength is about so much more than just 'the plank'!

What is core stability?

Kristi Leeson Everyone has heard about core stability. When I ask people what they do for their ‘core’ so many say, ‘I do the plank.’ But there’s so much more to it than that! Yes the plank can be a good exercise to strengthen the core, but unless an experienced practitioner has taught you how to correctly activate the right muscles, you may not be targeting the core at all.

Core stability comes from a group of deep muscles that work together to stabilise the trunk and pelvis. We all know a big part of this is the abdominals. Not just the ‘6 pack’ abs, but the deep abdominal muscle called the transverse abdominis or ‘T zone’ as I like to call it. The T zone has a huge role in taking some load off the lower back and stabilising the pelvis. When it’s strong it creates the powerhouse for the lower limb to work from.

Equally as important as the abs when you talk about core stability are the gluteals. Ask anyone who has been to my Pilates studio and they will tell you NO ONE leaves without a gluteal exercise.

It’s not just about the large gluteus maximus but the often-neglected smaller gluteus medius. This is the muscle responsible for stabilising the hip. If the hips are allowed to be wonky it can lead to lower back, knee or ankle pain. It also means that our bodies are not being as energy efficient as possible as we’re wasting energy in side to side motion instead of all of our energy going into forward motion. If you’re an athlete this energy efficiency can mean the difference between winning and losing. Strong glutes are also essential for injury prevention.

What is Pilates?

Pilates is a fitness methodology, developed by Joseph Pilates, designed to build strength, flexibility and lean muscle tone with an emphasis on aligning the spine and lengthening the body. With its focus on core strength Pilates is an especially powerful tool for preventing back, neck and joint pain.

How do I improve my core stability?

Kristi Leeson pilatesPilates is the perfect way to learn how to switch on and strengthen your abs and your glutes. Pilates uses various apparatus to isolate specific muscles, strengthen and lengthen, build long, lean muscle tissue and improve posture. It will get you into odd positions. You’ll be asked to squeeze and switch on muscles you never knew you had. It will challenge your mental power. And you will certainly feel the burn. But you truly have not experienced anything like it. So why not get to the core today, and give Pilates a try!


About Kristi Leeson

Kristi Leeson is a highly qualified Physiotherapist, Pilates and Xtend Barre instructor. Moving to Noosa 7 years ago, Kristi found Noosa to be the perfect setting to fuel her love of fitness and passion for everything related to healthy living. When she’s not in the Pilates studio or running the National Park trails, she’s tinkering with her Thermomix, making healthy creations for her family. Being a Mum to 3 young girls, Kristi believes in leading by example, promoting a positive body image and making healthy living just a way of life.

After experiencing numerous running niggles, Kristi turned to Pilates and her love affair with this fitness methodology began. She now combines her expert physiotherapy knowledge of the body, with Pilates for both exercise and rehabilitation. Kristi has worked with various elite athletes ranging from triathletes to rugby players, as well as the everyday person and converted many suspicious punters to Pilates!

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