What is missing from your core workout? A pilates instructor's perspective.

There are hundreds of exercises you can do to train your core. Chances are most of us have done some form of plank or “core strength” exercise. But are you getting the most out of your workouts? Incorporating these qualities into your regular routine will ensure you are not missing out!


1. Breathing - High quality
If you're holding your breath you're telling your body something is very wrong! In Pilates, we want the opposite of holding your breath. We want a high-quality inhale and high-quality exhale every single time. Your diaphragm is the roof of your core. It attaches onto your spine and it actually stabilizes the spine. As you inhale it should expand and open almost like an umbrella opening. Can you feel your ribs move out as you inhale? Do your ribs just move from the front? Can you get your ribs to open 360 degrees, opening to front, sides and back? As you exhale is your abdominal wall pulling in or is it pressing out? Without a high-quality breath it is next to impossible to tap into the intrinsic core. In Pilates were constantly moving to this high quality breath. Reaching the peak of the movement at the peak of the inhale, and the bottom of the movement at the bottom of the exhale, timing your movement meticulously to the rhythm of your breath. Turning your attention to that high-quality breath can help get you through some of the tough parts of your workout too!


2. Attention - Being present
Joseph Pilates called his work “the art of control”. When you are thinking about your
breathing, controlling your movement precisely, engaging some muscles while relaxing othersthere is lots to think about! It makes it impossible to think about what you're doing later today or what happened earlier in the day. It forces you to become very centred and focussed on the present moment. What is happening right here and right now. Tuning in instead of tuning out. In your daily life this becomes a true skill that you can tap into at any time. Being able to stay centred and focussed into the present moment through all the ups and downs of life. I just love this about the Pilates practice. Bringing your full attention to what you're doing also will allow you to recruit the muscles that should be working a lot more effectively.


3. Consistency - Showing up
This is where most people slip. You get motivated, set your goals and start your training program. It starts out full force then slowly your commitment waivers. You maybe do 6 when you should do ten, maybe your workouts waiver from 4 days a week to just 2. Just showing up no matter what, showing up every single time will make all the difference. Sometimes you may not feel like you have the energy, some days you may really feel like not working out, but it is consistency and committing to that consistency that is going to help you reach your goals.

 This is one of my favourite exercises to strengthen your deep core. As your practice this exercise remember to breathe, bring all of your attention to what you're doing and make sure to actually do it! Like really do it right now! Don't just read it do it! Lay on your back with your head supported on a pillow. Once you centre yourself and bring your attention to your low back. Bring your feet off of the floor and bring your knees into yourchest. Take both your hands and press them against your right knee. As you press your hands into your knee exhale and reach your left leg out to the wall in front of you without arching your low back. Inhale to bring the knee back in towards you. Do this 6 times on each side.

This is one of my favourite exercises to strengthen your deep core. As your practice this
exercise remember to breathe, bring all of your attention to what you're doing and make sure to
actually do it! Like really do it right now! Don't just read it do it!
Lay on your back with your head supported on a pillow. Once you centre yourself and bring
your attention to your low back. Bring your feet off of the floor and bring your knees into yourchest. Take both your hands and press them against your right knee. As you press your hands
into your knee exhale and reach your left leg out to the wall in front of you without arching your
low back. Inhale to bring the knee back in towards you. Do this 6 times on each side.

This fall, Liv Activ is offering private sessions and group classes. This is the perfect way to shake up your routine, challenge yourself and work out with other members of the Liv Activ community. Classes will run six days a week at different times. Commit yourself to a stronger core!