by Heather Burgoyne, Owner, Soar Pilates
We spend so much of our day hunched over in our bodies — sitting at a desk, driving in cars, washing dishes and just picking things up that the majority of us are more rounded forward in the spine.
It’s almost a natural part of our existence to think this is normal. However, we are designed to be upright, and we need to balance this forward life of ours by strengthening our posterior chain to improve our posture.
Probably one of the most notable benefits in Pilates is core strength. And we aren’t just talking about the superficial core where you see chiseled muscles, but really we are referring to the core as something much deeper — the base layer to our spine.
Our core consists of five main muscle components. The transverse (wraps around our spine like a corset keeping us upright), rectus (our six-pack muscles responsible for forward flexion), internal and external oblique slings (they cross our body like an X and are responsible for rotation), and our multifidus (which are small narrow muscles that run down the sides of your spine helping to stabilize and extend).
I feel we overlook the importance of exercising the back chain of our bodies, or what I often call our postural chain. And this begins with the multifidus, but also includes other muscle groups including our lats, traps (don’t just think of the chunky neck muscles as it is much larger than that), rhomboids, erector spinae and even our glutes and hamstrings.
There are so many more muscles, but without going into a full anatomy lesson I feel you as a reader get the area of the body I’m referring to.
The best part about Pilates is we are always targeting our “core” muscles. We are always working on our alignment and posture. Pilates as an exercise specifically targets our posture naturally without it having to be “called out or named.”
I had someone come into the studio the other day asking me what would be the best class to take in order to better their posture. My response was any class. I don’t think there would ever be a way to come into a class and not finish feeling taller than when you walked into the door.
Everything we do is for the lengthening, strengthening and alignment in our body as a whole.