Core stability

Core stability and activating pelvic floor muscles

Pilates aims to improve the engagement and strength of our core stability muscles which are a collection of muscles that act like an internal corset. These muscles include Transversus abdominus, multifidus and pelvic floor muscles which together support the spine, pelvis and abdomino-pelvic organs.

These muscles are also key postural muscles which are designed to work all day at a low level to provide support.

However, there are a number of other important muscle groups that help to support our bodies and spine (including hamstrings, glute muscles, latissimus dorsi and adductors) during day to day activities and exercise which Pilates helps to engage and strengthen.

Video demonstration: How to engage core stability and pelvic floor muscles

Activating core and pelvic floor muscles

Always remember less is more when it comes to engaging pelvic floor muscles! It only needs to be a gentle muscle contraction to get our pelvic floor muscles working.

It is often easier to practice engaging your core when you are lying on your back with your knees bent.

Alternatively some people find thinking of visual imagery helpful in trying to activate their pelvic floor. For example:

  • “imagine that you are trying to stop the flow of urine and notice the change in tone of your pelvic floor muscles”
  • “imagine that your pelvic floor is a lift, going up to first floor then second floor”
  • “imagine you are trying to stop yourself breaking wind”

See more Principles of Pilates