“Practice, practice, practice and all is coming.”
- Patabhi Jois
The core is made up of layers of muscle on your stomach, back, and buttocks. These muscles work together to support your pelvis and spine and keep your posture upright.
There are three core muscles in the abdominals: the transverse, the rectus and the internal and external obliques. In pilates, this core is referred to as the Power House. The power house is made up of three sets of muscles”
This is the deepest muscle layer. Its main roles are to stabilize the trunk and maintain internal abdominal pressure.
These are slung between the ribs and the pubic bone at the front of the pelvis. When contracting, this muscle has the characteristic bumps or bulges that are commonly called 'the six pack'. Its main function is to move the body between the ribcage and the pelvis.
External – these are on each side, allowing the trunk to twist. The right external oblique contracts to turn the body to the left and vice versa.
Internal– these flank the rectus abdominis and are located just inside the hipbones. They operate in opposition to the external obliques. For example, twisting the trunk to the left requires the left internal oblique and the right external oblique to contract together.
As we age, gravity and poor posture habits take their toll on us. We start to slouch, losing flexibility and lung capacity as our torso collapses. Building a strong core will help combat stooping, relieve muscle aches and prevent back injuries such as slip discs.
I would like to share a few abdominal exercises, which if repeated every morning, can help you strengthen your core muscles, give support to your back and reduce your tummy fat.
1. Yin yang obliques: Bend your knees, arms up bent at the elbow, rock side to side, working your obliques. Do 10 sets. Then reach the top arm over with each rock. Do 10 sets. Then top arm over and bottom arm under like a yin yang. Do 10 sets.
2. Boat pose: Sit up, feet flat against the ground. Then lift your legs up into a boat shape. Hold for 5 breaths. Repeat 3 times.
3. Cycling: Lay flat on the ground, then hug your knees to your heart. Reach out one leg, draw in one knee. Laced fingers, hands behind the head, elbow to the opposite knee. Do 20 seconds.
4. Hip lift, leg drop: Lay flat on the ground, arms to the side. Lift the hips off the ground inhale, drop the legs down to 30 degrees, exhale. Repeat 10 times.
5. Pendulum: Lay flat on the ground, arms to the side. Reach your legs (together) to one side, tap your palm, then the other side, tap your palm. Inhale centre, exhale to the side, inhale centre, exhale to the side. Repeat 10 times.
I hope this helps you!
To watch the companion video, keep your eyes on Star Lifestyle’s Facebook page or The Daily Star’s Youtube channel.