The Powerhouse is made up of the abdominals, diaphragm, and the pelvic floor. All three muscle groups are connected by a ligament running along the spine. What that means is that one muscle group does not function without the use of the others. The pelvic floor is the muscle group in the Powerhouse that’s most inferior, meaning the furthest away from the head. Overall, it’s the hammock that our entire hip complex sits on. It’s a prime mover for leg motions and supports the organs in the pelvis.
Knowing where the pelvic floor is located is important, but knowing how it helps you move is key in your Pilates practice. Every lift of a leg, every squat into a chair, and every digested meal is assisted by the pelvic floor. Pilates trains you to pay attention to your movements. Moving with intention and using deeper core muscles to function are the foundations to this practice.
Now how do you activate these muscles? The beauty of the pelvic floor is that it simply works with every breath. Every exhale fires the small muscles surrounding the hips and low spine. Every inhale gently relaxes the same muscles. Simply breathing during your movements promotes proper use of the pelvic floor. In situations where the goal is to strengthen this specific muscle group, a simple cue is to lift the muscles around the pubic bone up and in with an exhale. Another option is to work the surrounding muscles known as the inner thighs, glutes, and abdominals. A blueberry ball in between the knees is an effective way to target the pelvic floor even deeper. An important concept to keep in mind is that the pelvic floor is a group of tiny muscles that needs to be strengthened but also needs to be flexible and mobile like any other part of the body.
Challenging the body to move with improved functionality versus use of momentum and bigger, overused muscles leads to better posture, improved performance, and happier and healthier bodies. Properly engaging and strengthening your pelvic floor will ensure every body type less pain and undeniable results.
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