You may be familiar with the more popular muscle groups that Pilates focuses on, like the “powerhouse,” which consists of the abdomen, the lower back, and the pelvis. But Pilates is a challenging routine that puts every muscle of the body to work. And by that, we mean every muscle -- even those you didn’t know existed. Pilates has over 500 exercises, and at least one of those will make you feel the burn in these lesser-known muscles and muscle groups:
Stabilizer muscles of the lower spine
As their name suggests, these muscles stabilize organs, so they don’t get pulled down by gravity. These are the three deep core stability muscles of the lower spine: transversus abdominis, lumbar multifidus, and pelvic floor muscles.
The transverse abdominus is also known as the “corset muscle,” because it binds the spine and pelvis like a corset. It is responsible for protecting the spinal and pelvic areas every time you bend or turn. The lumbar multifidus, meanwhile, surrounds the lower vertebrae of the spine to keep the back stable. Lastly, the pelvic floor supports the lumbar spine and further holds your frame and keeps you upright. With Pilates, all these muscles are fortified, so you can have a tougher middle body and a better posture, even if you spend a good part of your day sitting down.
To find your internal obliques, place your hands on your waist and use your thumbs to feel the bottom of your ribs. That’s where your internal obliques start, and they extend all the way down to your pubic bone. They serve the critical function of compressing and protecting your organs bilaterally. Without them, your organs will fall out of place. They also enable you to turn your trunk unilaterally to the side. Without them, you won’t be able to twist your middle. The stronger your internal obliques are, the better your internal organs are protected. And because Pilates does not only strengthen but also lengthen, it trims your internal obliques and gives you a firmer, smaller waistline.
The iliopsoas consists of two muscles (iliacus and psoas), and they are the only muscles that connect your spine and your thighs. They’re extremely important, because they buttress your hip joints while you're walking. What’s more, they also allow you to flex your thigh towards your body, like when you're cycling, and lets you curl your body towards your thighs, like when you’re doing sit-ups.
Through different stretching and lunging exercises, Pilates strengthens the iliopsoas. In turn, a sturdier iliopsoas gives you better posture, helps you walk with greater ease, and prevents you from getting hip injuries.
The human body has 650 skeletal muscles, and Pilates is carefully designed to strengthen all of them. If you’re in the South Boston or Dedham area, C2 Body offers innovative, fun, and stimulating Pilates classes that will make you discover the wonders, strengths, and beauty of your body. Book a class with C2 Pilates today.