The Core: Function over Fashion.

Core Stability continues to be all the rage in the fitness and medical field.

As Pilates Professionals, all of us have had new clients mention that Pilates was suggested to them by their Physician to improve core stability.

Have you ever asked these clients what that means to them? The answers are often the same.

Most believe that improving core stability is as simple as doing 200 ab curls every day. If they have a six pack, or more, they must have a strong core, right?

This belief is perpetuated by the hundreds of images we see daily in the media, showing various chiseled body parts in an array of undress.

The only goal of most is to achieve perfect tone of the “glamor muscles” and lose weight so you can see them.

That must be the only measure of health and fitness, afterall there is so much emphasis on it.

Much to the surprise of fitness enthusiasts everywhere, the core is much more than the coveted 6+ pack, and in fact all of the 26 other muscles that make up the “Core” and Locomotor Systems of Movement are significantly more functionally and posturally important.

And that’s the truth.

Often times, the health and fitness industry tends to glom on to the latest buzzword. The “muscle du jour” becomes the center of every exercise and every diagnosis, with little regard to the intricate system of muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves that all play a part in any single muscle’s effective movement. The most popular body parts that are referenced often, and incorrectly I might add, include the QL, the IT Band, the Pelvic Floor, and the Psoas.

It is easy as Movement Professionals to explain movements to clients in the simplest terms – just name one muscle for them to focus on in an exercise.

Anatomy and biomechanics are complicated, and these concepts can be overwhelming when a client is focusing hard enough already on just accomplishing the movement.

However, having an understanding of the system as a whole can be incredibly empowering and useful for clients, and the progress that follows is remarkable. Their pain goes away, they understand how to move better in life, and they enjoy your sessions so much more because they see the purpose and benefits.

Most importantly, providing them with the information about the entire core’s role in movement and stability will allow them to look beyond the vanity role of muscles, and more at their powerful function as a whole.

The responsibility of Movement Professionals in all areas of health and fitness is to educate and assist our clients in their quest to achieve better movement. Knowing the intricacies of the Core System, both inner and deep, and in 3D not only provides an amazing clarity of a number of common faulty movement patterns, but is at the root of the biomechanical puzzle that we work to piece together with every client.


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Written by

Holly Wallis, Certified Movement & Rehabilitation Specialist, PMA®-CPT
Director of US Operations, Body Harmonics Pilates & Movement Institute
Studio Director, ReActive Movement, 6200 LaSalle Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

© 2016. All rights reserved.

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